Later school half-term hits May pub and restaurant sales

16 June 2016

  • Overall market like-for-likes down 1.4 per cent on May 2015
  • London sales hold up better than rest of Britain

Britain’s pub and restaurant groups saw same-store sales slip in May, with collective like-for-like trading down 1.4 per cent on the same month last year according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

'The later school half-term break, which this year fell in June against May last year, appears to have been a major factor – demonstrating how important the family market still is to the sector,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS.

'Overall, casual dining chains suffered most, with collective like-for-likes down a hefty 5.6 per cent on last May, while pub groups actually saw a 1.0 per cent increase in same store sales for the month, driven mainly by drink-led outlets,' added Martin.

London also had a better month than the rest of the country, with like-for-likes up 0.9 per cent, and pubs up 3.8 per cent, against a 2.2 per cent drop in same-store sales outside the M25.

'The distortion caused by the school holiday shift will work its way out next month, and operators will be encouraged by early indications of bumper sales in the first week of June, which also enjoyed good weather,' said Martin.

'However, there will be caution too, as May’s performance follows a drop in sales in April and a generally flat start to the year overall – and the underlying annual trend shows sector like-for-likes running at just 0.9 per cent up for the 12 months to the end of May,' he added.

Pub and restaurant group sales performance for last 12 months

  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec  Jan  Feb   Mar Apr  May
LFLs   1.7%  1.1%  0.6%  1.2%  2.5%  -0.2%  1.3%  1.9%  0.0%  0.6%  -0.8% -1.4% 
Total  5.8%  4.8%  4.3%  4.6%  6.1%  3.5%  4.7%  5.4%  3.2%  4.9%  3.1%  2.2%

Total sales for the month among the 31 companies in the Tracker cohort were up 2.2 per cent on 2015, reflecting the fact that groups are still opening new sites, if at a slower rate than previously.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 31 operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark. CGA Peach is part of CGA Strategy.