Better weather encouraged Brits to dine out during the month.
Latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker saw Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups’ collective like-for-like sales grow 3.8% in March compared to the same month last year, when trading was hit badly by the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’.
“March last year was a month to forget when snow brought much of the country to a standstill. Both pubs and restaurants felt the effects with like-for-likes across the board down 3.1%, so these latest figures will be a relief as the sector regains lost ground,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
London, which was hit by the bad weather worse than the rest of the country last year, saw like-for-likes up 5.5% this March, with the rest of the country enjoying a 3.3% increase. Managed pubs were collectively up 4.0%, with restaurant groups, which have suffered most in recent months, up 3.6%.
Pubs also saw a recovery in both food and drink sales over the month, although drinks trade grew 5.7% against a smaller 2.7% increase in food, suggesting that the underlying trend for drink sales to outstrip food sales is continuing.
“The big test, of course, will come with the results for April and the Easter holidays. Last Easter was a bumper time for the sector with sales ahead 5.9% on the holiday weekend the year before, boosted by the fact that many people didn’t go out in March. The pressure to match that this time is now on,” Chessell added.
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