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RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK
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London restaurants see 3.2% like-for-like sales decline in September

Across the sector, trading was generally better outside the M25, down just 0.7%.

According to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants saw like-for-like sales decline 0.9% in September as the public appeared to pull back on spending on eating and drinking out. Restaurants in London were worst hit, suffering a 3.2% fall in collective like-for-like sales compared to September last year. Across the sector, trading was generally better outside the M25, down just 0.7%, compared to a fall of 1.6% in the capital.

“The negative September numbers follow on from generally flat trading across the summer – August was ahead just 0.2%, with London again feeling the pinch more – and will do little to help already fragile business confidence among operators,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA.

CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey, published earlier this month, showed that while 66% of bosses in the sector were optimistic about prospects for their own company, only a third (34%) were upbeat about prospects for the market as a whole, down from 43% in May.

“Both pubs and restaurants had a tough September, but it is worth noting that pubs and bars in London traded relatively better, down just 0.5%, while restaurants away from the capital actually saw like-for-likes grow marginally last month, up 0.2%.”

“We have seen the British Tourism Authority announce record numbers of foreign visitors and an increase in ‘staycations’. However, these do not seem to have helped London, where domestic tourism appears to be down,” Martin observed.

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “There’s no getting away from the fact that September has been a fairly dismal month for casual dining operators, especially in the capital. These sales numbers continue to be underpinned by the growing influence of food delivery and fierce discounting between brands. Operators will hope that a focus on premiumisation over the festive period will help to claw back some of this lost margin.”

Photo credit: Beer Lens

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