Sales decline in UK bars and pubs

16th October, 2017 by Michael J Ritchie

Sales in UK pubs, bars and restaurants fell by 0.9% last month as people reined in what they spent on eating and drinking out.

Tough September trading has hit restaurant, pub and bar groups in the UK

Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which tracked 38 companies, noted that London was hit the hardest, with collective like-for-like September sales down by 3.2%.

Across the UK, the decrease was less steep outside of the M25, averaging at -0.7%. In some restaurants outside of the capital, growth of +0.2% was recorded.

The latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA noted that 66% of owners and employers in the sector felt positive about “prospects for their own company”. Only 34%, however, remained optimistic regarding “the market as a whole”, which is down from 43% in May.

Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, the consultancy that is responsible for the tracker, said: “Rising costs around property, tax, people and raw materials have increased pressure on margins already this year in what is an ever competitive market. Faltering sales will only add to sector concerns.

“Interestingly, these weaker eating-out numbers come in a month when retail sales grew, fuelled in part by higher food prices in supermarkets, which may have helped dampened out-of-home eating.”

The British Tourism Authority recently revealed that there are currently record numbers of foreign tourists in the UK, as well as an increase in British “staycations”, although domestic tourism in London is down.

Head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, Paul Newman, noted: “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.”

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