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Restaurant sales bounce back

15 | 03 | 13

The UK's major restaurant and pub groups saw sales recover in February, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures.

Collective like-for-like sales increased by 3.3 per cent on the same month last year, while total sales, which include the impact of new site openings, grew by 6.1 per cent.

This is welcome news for the industry, after January saw a 2.4 per cent drop in sales compared with 2012. This has largely been attributed to the adverse weather conditions that affected large parts of the UK at the start of the year.

These positive figures are likely to have a knock on-effect on suppliers of kitchen equipment and catering appliances, who will benefit from any new openings that are funded by the increase in sales.

The Coffer Peach Tracker monitors the sales performance of 25 UK pub and restaurant organisations, which have a combined annual turnover of more than £6 billion. It is widely regarded as the benchmark for sales figures in the industry.

The statistics have been welcomed by several leading figures in the sector. Peter Martin of Peach Factory commented: “School half-term holidays, which this year were staggered over two weeks, helped drive sales, with pub restaurants and casual dining chains doing particularly well. Overall, trading was slightly better in London than outside the M25.”

He claimed the figures have brought a halt to the downward trend that has occurred in the rate of market growth since August 2012.

"In August, year-on-year like-for-likes were running at plus two per cent, but have shown a steady decline every month since then, until now. The rate is now up to plus one per cent, after dropping close to zero at the start of the year," he stated.

Mr Martin believes the results will boost confidence in the industry, which has "remained remarkably high despite tough trading conditions".

Peach Factory carried out its annual survey of business leaders earlier this year, which found 52 per cent of respondents were optimistic about prospects for the eating and drinking-out market. This is despite 58 per cent of senior figures saying they thought it would take more than 18 months for the economy to return to growth.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they were optimistic about their own business' prospects in the year ahead. 

Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, commented: “These figures show again that leisure is outperforming other sectors - particularly retail and especially in the regions."

Regionally, consumers increasingly appear to have adjusted to a new normal. Those in work are managing their finances and have allocated cash to spend on nights out. We may see more stability from here regionally and have seen the worst."

Mr Sheehan claimed consumers have adjusted their budget to eliminate unnecessary retail expenditure, while retaining a degree of "much-needed leisure spend".

"We hope that as employment levels improve, a sense of stability emerges and this proves to be the green shoots of recovery,” he added.

Earlier this year, the Belfast Telegraph reported on a survey by lastminute.com, which found Britons are actually eating out more than they were three years ago, despite the poor state of the economy. ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801557410-ADNFCR


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