Pubs and restaurants saw marginal growth in consumer spending for August, despite the effect of riots in London and other major cities.
However, restaurants in high street locations had a more difficult time than the sector overall.
Those are the findings of the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors the sales performance across 23 major pub and restaurant operators.
Collective like-for-like sales were up 0.6% against the same time last year, with total sales (which include the effect of new openings) up 3.7% on August 2010.
"Taken overall, the eating and drinking out sector has come through surprisingly well - thanks in large part to the public, who have continued to go out to eat and drink," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the market consultancy that produces the sector Tracker, in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.
But he added: "Unsurprisingly, the restaurant sector with more high-street and urban locations had a much tougher time than the pub and pub-restaurant sector and did see an overall decline in sales over August because of the riots."
During the week of the riots itself, the market was down overall, but by less than 2%. "Restaurant chains saw a bigger drop, but not the double-digit decline that some observers have been suggesting," Martin said. "Pub trading over the country as a whole was flat that week.
The figures also show that pub and restaurant chains continued to out-perform the retail sector. According to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, like-for-like retail sales fell 0.6% in August.
Commenting on the latest figures, Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, part of the Coffer Group, said: "These figures are very encouraging and better than we would have expected given the combination of the riots, economic concerns and a very soggy August, which have all had a knock-on effect on consumer spend across the country.
"Anecdotally, it has been a challenging summer for operators both in and outside London. Yet the increase in collective like-for-likes within the pub and pub-restaurant sector, are a much truer reflection of the mentality we are experiencing at the transactional end of the market, where there is almost insatiable demand in certain areas and an acceleration in transactions being completed. The economic outlook may be uncertain but cash is still being spent."
Richard Hathaway, head of travel, leisure and tourism at KPMG in the UK, added: "Although year-on-year the sector has seen some growth and continues to outperform the general retail sector, performance has been essentially flat, bearing in mind inflation as well as the increase in VAT, which will be responsible for some of the growth."
By Neil Gerrard
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