Pubs and restaurants saw consumer spending flatten out in May, with a slight 0.3% decline in like-for-like sales against the 3.8% rise in the holiday month of April.
Figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors sales performance across 22 major pub and restaurant operators, also showed total sales growth slowing - up just 1.7% on the same month last year, compared with a 6.2% increase in April. Month on month, May was down 6.1% on April.
However, eating and drinking out still held up better than retail. According to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, UK retail sales were 2.1% lower on a like-for-like basis in May, with total sales down 0.3%.
"Poorer weather after the hot spell and what looks like a post-Easter and Royal Wedding hangover among consumers will have played their part," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the market consultancy that produces the sector Tracker in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.
"Nevertheless, the negative dip is disappointing as it marks the first month this year which has seen a fall in eating and drinking out sales, albeit a marginal one."
"The good news is that if eating and drinking out are a better barometer of consumer confidence than retail, then the country is perhaps in better spirits than many think," he added.
By Neil Gerrard
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