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Spending on eating and drinking out dropped slightly for the first time this year in May as bad weather and a hangover from April’s bumper royal wedding and bank holiday boost were felt across the trade.
The latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker shows like-for-like sales were down 0.3%, and total sales growth among the 22 pub and restaurant chains it monitors was up just 1.7% on the same month last year, compared with a 6.2% increase in April. Month on month May was down -6.1% on April.
But pub and restaurant sales held up better than retail — according to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG, retail sales were 2.1% lower on a like-for-like basis in May, with total sales down 0.3%.
“Poorer weather after the hot spell and what looks like a post-Easter and royal wedding hangover among consumers will have played their part,” said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the market consultancy which produces the report in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.
“Nevertheless, the negative dip is disappointing as it marks the first month this year which as seen a fall in eating and drinking out sales, albeit a marginal one.”
March like-for-likes had been ahead 0.9% with February up 3.1% on the comparable months in 2010.
Jonathan Leinster, head of UBS European leisure research, said: “Following strong 3.8% growth in April, something of a pullback in May was expected.
“This month’s results were ‘cleaner’ than last, with no one-off holidays and normal temperatures and hours of sun. Half term will appear in the June results, as it did last year.
“Taken together, April and May were not shabby, but could hardly be considered robust growth. We are expecting little change from recent like-for-like sales trends for the rest of this year.”
Story by Gemma McKenna
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review