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Drink-led pubs worst hit by weather

Published:  17 May, 2012

A cold and wet April has hit spending on eating and drinking-out, with pub and restaurant groups seeing  like-for-like sales down 2% for the month.

A cold and wet April has hit spending on eating and drinking-out, with pub and restaurant groups seeing like-for-like sales down 2% for the month.

New Coffer Peach Business Tracker data shows pubs, and in particular drink-led businesses, were worst affected by the poor weather with sales registering a 2% drop, although high street casual dining restaurants saw sales increase against the same month last year.

"As ever, the weather is a major factor in where, or whether, people choose to go out and eat. In general, if it's sunny people go to the pub; when it's wet restaurants tend to benefit," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the sector Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and UBS.

"Last April, not only did we have hotter weather, but we had the Royal Wedding and Mother's Day in the month, as well as the Easter holidays. That benefited the market overall last year, but pubs and pub restaurants in particular," added Martin.

Total pub and restuarant sales in April this year were, however, up by 1.9% on 2011, reflecting the effect of new openings.

Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: "Given the poor weather in April, these figures show remarkable hardiness from the sector. As we continue to suffer from poor weather in May we are becoming dependent on the summer for an uplift.

"Many hospitality operators remain nervous about the Olympics and with a strong pound it may be that summer 2012 is painful for some. Yet the real legacy of the Games and the Diamond Jubilee for the restaurant sector, and the hospitality industry as a whole, could very well be the very long-term benefit resulting from the surrounding publicity both will bring."

In March, total pub and restaurant group sales were up 6.3% on 2011, compared to a mere 0.6% increase in February.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 24 leading operating groups.