‘Pre-election jitters’ partly responsible for dip in managed pub trade

Dip in figures: downturn in trade due to fears over economy

Britain’s managed pub operators saw a 0.7% dip in like-for-like sales in May compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Wet-led pubs fared better than food-led pubs, which was mainly due to the weather according to CGA, while restaurants performed better than pubs overall as like-for-like sales stayed the same.

However, CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin said that trade in both restaurant and pub sectors was “sluggish across the board” as together they experienced a 0.4% drop in like-for-like sales.

Disappointing numbers

The numbers will be a “disappointment” for managed pub operators as they come after a 4.4% increase in April, said Martin.

“The problem hasn’t been so much consumer confidence but business confidence, with mounting cost pressures on operators from rising wages, business rates and food costs,” he said. “The latest fall in sterling following the general election result will only add to that.”

Continued ‘headwinds’

Coffer Corporate Leisure managing director Mark Sheehan said despite “continued headwinds” in the eating-out market – and “pre-election jitters” – trade in the pub sector is generally stronger.

“Worries over the [political] uncertainty created by a hung parliament, a fraught Brexit process and fears surrounding terrorist attacks could deter some consumers from visiting city centre restaurants, although staycations may offset this in some parts of the country,” he said.

The Coffer Peach Tracker, produced by CGA Peach, is an industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector, collecting monthly performance data from 35 operating groups.

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