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Pub and restaurant groups 'improve from 2011'

16 | 01 | 13

The outlook for the catering and hospitality industry is looking more positive than it did this time last year, although there are still aspects of the environment that suggest a degree of concern is warranted, according to the latest data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Like-for-like sales for the six weeks up to 6th January were up by 2.1 per cent on a yearly basis, while total sales among the 24 major companies in the pub and restaurant sector surveyed increased by 4.7 per cent.

Peter Martin of business intelligence firm Peach Factory suggested that an improvement compared to last year was expected, but claimed that operators will nevertheless be pleased to see conditions strengthen in the industry.

"The figures reflect the essentially flat marketplace we have experienced for the past year or so, where any sales growth for the leading groups has come from new openings," he added.

High-profile UK hospitality businesses such as JD Wetherspoon have recently announced plans to fit out new establishments with kitchen equipment over the coming months as part of a major expansion plan, despite the economic malaise currently afflicting many UK industries.

Mr Martin stressed that the results varied widely from company to company, with a number of factors in play.

London-based businesses performed better than their regional counterparts, while pubs fared better than restaurants over the six-week period.

However, the Peach Factory chief indicated that food-led offerings remained crucial to the strong results earned by pubs and bars.

Ali Aneizi, co-head of leisure & hospitality at Baker Tilly Corporate Finance, noted that the wet weather seen across the UK in December is likely to have had a dampening effect on sales.

"However, the UK consumer continues to spend on eating and drinking out as illustrated by the turn around in results for the latter part of the month."ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801523409-ADNFCR

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