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Pubs boom as hot weather and World Cup pulls in punters

By Sean Farrell

Date: Monday 16 Jul 2018

Pubs boom as hot weather and World Cup pulls in punters

(Sharecast News) - Hot weather and the start of the World Cup triggered a mini-sales boom for pubs in June at the expense of restaurant groups, a survey showed.

Like-for-like sales at managed pub and bar groups rose 2.8% in June from a year earlier as consumers cooled off from the heatwave and watched football in the boozer, according to the Coffer Peach business tracker.

But restaurants suffered a 1.8% fall in trade though analysts said the decline was modest given unfavourable conditions. Overall sales at managed pubs, bars and restaurants rose 1.1%, slightly weaker than May's 1.4% increase which followed a decline in April.

Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, one of the compilers of the survey, said: "Sun and football are usually good news for the pub trade - and with England's World Cup run and the hot weather continuing into July, we should expect more positive trading."

"Better news is that the usual drop off in restaurant sales during good weather and big sporting events is not cancelling out the boost for pubs and bars. Overall the market is up."

London did better than the rest of the UK with pub sales up 3.7% and restaurant sales edging down 0.4% compared with a 2.3% drop elsewhere. The survey includes Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread, The Restaurant Group, Greene King, Marston's, Fuller's, Young's, All Star Lanes and Revolution Bars Group,

Underlying like-for-like growth for the 45 companies surveyed is improving after a difficult period when bad weather and squeezed consumer spending power hit discretionary spending, particularly for midmarket restaurants. The annual rate of growth for bars and restaurants picked up to 0.7% in June from 0.6% in May.

"A month of sunshine and the World Cup may be good news for drinks led businesses but was always going to be tougher for food led operators," said Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, another compiler of the survey. "However, there will be a sense of optimism for many restaurants with the year on year fall at less than 2%."

The wider industry survey follows figures from Greene King, which reported pub like-for-like sales bouncing back to rise 2.2% in the eight weeks to the end of June after falling in the previous financial year.


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