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Pubs and restaurants see sales growth despite agony for retailers

17 December 2018 by
Pubs and restaurants see sales growth despite agony for retailers

Pubs and restaurants saw like-for-like sales grow by 1.5% year on year in November as they showed themselves to be "the future of the high street".

The latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker saw pubs experience sales growth of 2.1% with restaurants lagging behind, but still recording growth of 0.6%. London saw faster growth than the rest of Britain at 2.3% compared with 1.3% outside the M25.

The figures have been released as retail expert Springboard estimates that the number of people shopping on the high street was 9% lower on Saturday, than the same date last year.

The tracker also saw restaurants openings outpace closures over the month and Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM said: "With retailers recently reporting the biggest drop in footfall for the month of November since 2009, the relative health of eating and drinking out is a better indicator of where the future of the high street lies.

"For operators, many will be hoping that the growing Brexit uncertainty drives consumers to seek solace in their restaurants, pubs and bars throughout the all-important Christmas trading period."

Drink sales were the major driver in improvements to pub performance, up 3% compared to a 0.6% uptick in food sales.

Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM, said: "The November figures will be welcome for a market that has seen generally flat trading across the year, and operators will hope this upward trend continues into the festive season.

"Managed pubs have continued to trade better than the restaurant market, and especially in London where collective like-for-likes were up 3.1%. Restaurant chains also did marginally better in the capital, with sales up 0.9%, compared to 0.5%, but as the figures show remain under pressure from increased costs and tough competition."

David Coffer, the Coffer Group's chairman, added: "The demand for restaurant space is increasing but is reflective of the current political uncertainty. Traditionally, there will be an acceleration in restaurant trade as we approach the seasonal period and hopefully that will give an injection of confidence in the market. There is no doubt that currently drink-led operations are leading the way. Comparatively, there is a considerable amount of restaurant stock hitting the market and once this has been taken up, we anticipate further growth in this part of the sector."

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