Pub and restaurant groups see steady growth continue into September

15 October 2015

  • Collective like-for-likes up 1.2 per cent on same month last year 
  • Restaurant groups continue to out-perform the market

Britain’s managed pub and restaurant sector is seeing steady, if unspectacular, sales growth in 2015, reflected in the latest trading data for September. Collective like-for-like sales were up 1.2 per cent in the same month last year, broadly in line with the underlying 12-month trend, latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

'This year has generally been one of ‘steady-as-she-goes’ for the eating and drinking out market, with annualised like-for-like sales to the end of September running at 1.3 per cent up on the previous 12 months,' said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS.

'This time last year we were seeing growth of twice that rate, showing that despite the fact people are continuing to eat and drink out the bulk of any uplift in consuming spending is largely going elsewhere, such as on bigger ticket consumer goods,' Martin suggested.

Competition in the sector was also heating up, driven especially by ambitious brand roll-outs by casual dining chains, he said. Total sales, which include the impact of new openings, grew 4.6 per cent in September among the Tracker cohort of 31 operating companies - and are running at 5.5 per cent for the year to date. Total sales for restaurant groups were up 7.5 per cent for the month, and 10.6 per cent ahead of last year outside of the M25.

'At this stage it is difficult to gauge the impact of the Rugby World Cup, which started in the middle of the month, on the market, although restaurant chains collectively performed best in September with like-for-likes up 2.8 per cent on last September, while pub groups were ahead just 0.4 per cent. Drink-led pubs did do better than food pubs, which might be down to the effect of the rugby but also perhaps to good weather at the end of the month,' said Martin.

Regionally, London had a slightly worse month than the rest of the UK, with like-for-likes up 0.9 per cent against 1.3 per cent for the rest of the country.

The Coffer Peach data comes directly from 31 participating companies, including a cross-section of managed operators, from major players such as Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread, Stonegate, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express to smaller, and sometimes regionally-based, groups such as Living Ventures, Hall & Woodhouse, Byron, Loungers, Laine Pub Co and Bistrot Pierre. (See full list below)

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.

Pub and restaurant group sales performance for last 12 months

  Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug  Sep
 LFLs    2.2% 3.4% 1.9%  1.3%  1.6%  -0.3%  1.2%  2.1%  1.7%  1.1%  0.6%  1.2% 
 Total 5.7% 6.8% 5.6% 5.8% 5.8% 3.7% 5.2% 6.2% 5.8% 4.8% 4.3%  4.6% 

Source: Coffer Peach Business Tracker