Like-for-like sales among some of the biggest pub and restaurant groups in the UK edged ahead 1.3% in June, but the poor weather, Euro 2012 and the Jubilee made it a tough time for casual dining.
The latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors monthly sales data from 25 chains, found that there was a healthy jump in sales at drinks-led pubs, compared with poorer trading at restaurants.
"While drink-led pubs saw a healthy jump in like-for-likes, casual restaurant chains suffered a corresponding fall against June last year," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the sector Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and UBS.
"The market overall was up on last June. But the wet weather, sport and the Jubilee celebrations affected businesses in very different ways. That was particularly apparent in London, where pub trading was especially strong, but casual dining brands had a tough month," Martin added.
Martin also noted that competition inside the M25 was also fiercer than elsewhere in the country, with the distractions of football on TV, in particular, adding to that.
Total sales reported by the Tracker were up 5% on last year, as a result of new openings, reflecting the intensity of the competition between chains. Overall, chains saw more growth in June outside of London than inside.
"The eating and drinking-out market has been volatile, like the weather, for most of this, although the overall picture is of a steadily expanding branded sector, driven by new openings, but with like-for-like growth essentially flat " said Martin.
"Tracker data shows the annualised like-for-like sales growth rate for the leading groups is currently running at around 1.5%, with total sales running at around 5.6%," he added.
Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: "We are seeing a change in the pattern of trade in the hospitality sector. Pubs are outperforming restaurants and the provinces are trading better than London. While the weak euro is currently affecting tourist trade in London, the Olympics will be the greatest ever advertisement for London and the UK and we expect to see significant long term benefits for the whole sector especially in areas that traditionally benefit from tourism."
By Neil Gerrard
E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs