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Restaurants offer a warm welcome for consumers as weather dampens pubs and bars sales in July


Britain’s managed restaurant, pub and bar groups continue to overcome widespread challenges to record the tenth successive month of year-on-year sales growth in July 2023, the new Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows.


The Tracker, produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with TheCoffer Group and RSM UK, reveals like-for-like sales across the managed market increased by 7.8% in July.


Pubs have been the market leading segment since May 2022, when year-on-year tracking recommenced post-COVID-19, with the past couple of months of sunshine providing an extra boost to sales growth. However, the stagnant temperatures and wet weather throughout July moved consumers back indoors, and pubs performed below the market average at 7.0% sales growth. Bars have continued to hold a similar position as seen in recent months, with like-for-like sales down 7.1% on last year.


Whilst a slightly negative period for pubs and bars, restaurants were ready to take up the redirected trade, boosting their like-for-like sales growth to a market leading 12.2% in July.


Growth was steady across the country in July, with the performance gap between London and the rest of the country continuing to narrow. The Tracker shows managed groups’ like-for-like sales growth within the M25 were unchanged from June, at 8.1%, whilst growth outside the M25 has risen again to 7.7%.


Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ, said: As the hotter weather declined in July, the effect this has had on drink-led outlet sales has come as no surprise, especially considering the positive results from the more favourable weather we had in June. Whilst its disappointing to see the weather have a negative effect on drink-led outlets, the positive period for restaurants is encouraging, especially considering the negative results from last month’s Tracker and the continuing rising cost challenges the sector is facing.”


Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “The mainstream eating and drinking out sectors are performing better. Consumers are continuing to go out and the outlook whilst challenging is looking better. We see optimism amongst many operators and are cautiously positive for the coming months.”


Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK, said:Whilst July’s weather was a washout for much of the UK, it proved to be a ray of sunshine for Britain’s managed restaurant groups with inflation beating 12.2% growth when compared to the year before.


"The record-busting opening weekend of Barbenheimer will also have driven significant footfall to casual dining restaurants and underlines the positive impact that a booming entertainment sector can have on the eating out market. With the pace of earnings poised to outstrip inflation for the first time in more than a year, the outlook for consumer spending in the leisure sector looks somewhat rosier than it did a few months back.”


CGA collected sales figures directly from 83 leading managed groups for the latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker.


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