Strong sales continue for UK pubs and restaurants post-Brexit

Post-Brexit blues haven’t stopped consumers spending in the UK’s pubs and restaurants, with managed pub and restaurant groups reporting collective like-for-like sales up 1.8% in September, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Branded restaurant groups performed slightly better than managed pubs, with like-for-likes ahead 2.2%, against a 1.6% increase for the month for pub groups.

Total sales for the month among the 34 companies represented in the Tracker, including TGI Fridays and Wagamamas, were up 5.0% in September 2015, reflecting new site openings over the past 12 months among Tracker participants.

The underlying annual sales trend shows sector like-for-likes running at 0.7% up for the 12 months to the end of September, broadly in line with the trend seen over the summer as a whole.

“It’s the third month in a row following the EU referendum that that sector has recorded positive growth, suggesting that consumer confidence remains upbeat following a sluggish start to the year,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

“The good weather will have helped trade this September, but the underlying trend for the market as a whole has been upwards right across the summer, so operators can take some heart from the fact that the public doesn’t appear to have cut back on going out despite the continuing longer-term economic uncertainty around Brexit.”

However, Mark Sheehan, Managing Director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, warned that rising levels of inflation and import costs might have a damaging effect on sales.

He said, “The hospitality sector continues to show growth post-Brexit. Like-for-like sales are broadly in line with the recently released inflation numbers. Hospitality is often a bellwether of confidence and these figures show the continued resilience of UK consumers.

“However, the news this week that inflation has hit the highest levels for two years, plus rising import and fuel costs, could well mean that we start to see a dip in consumer confidence levels and reduced spend on eating out as cost increases start to get passed on to customers.”

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