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Restaurant and pub group sales drop during cold March

17 | 04 | 13

The cold weather that affected the UK during March contributed to a fall in sales for pub and restaurant groups, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

It found that like-for-like sales dropped by three per cent compared with the same month last year.

Meanwhile, total sales, which include the impact of new site openings, were largely flat, registering a 0.2 per cent decrease.

Met Office statistics show that March 2013 was the joint second coldest on record, with the average temperature over three degrees C lower than the long-term monthly average. Only the March of 1962 has been colder.

"Simply, it was a bad month all round," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the company that produces the tracker in partnership with the Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS.

Pubs and pub-restaurants were hit hardest by the bad conditions, with a 3.4 per cent drop in like-for-like sales, compared to a 1.9 per cent fall for high street restaurant brands.

"The damage was really done in the two middle weeks of March, when like-for-likes across the groups in our sample were collectively down 4.8 per cent and 11 per cent - with some operators doing worse than that," Mr Martin commented.

However, there was some good news, as the four-day Easter holiday was a significant improvement on last year, with like-for-like sales seven per cent ahead.

"The industry will hope that is a sign of latent public demand for going out and that warmer, more settled weather will bring improved trading," Mr Martin stated.

Catering equipment companies will also hope for an increase in trading, as this could lead to the creation of more new openings in the year ahead.

Paul Newman, co-head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, said the outlook for the sector remains upbeat, as the hospitality industry fared better than the retail market, which saw footfall drop by five per cent as a result of the freezing conditions.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801572780-ADNFCR

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