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School holiday boosts trading in June for casual dining and pub chains in the UK

Published:  22 July, 2016

While the lack of summer weather in June might have been a challenge, the school holiday has helped to boost trading figures for casual dining and pub chains according to new figures released by the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 33 operating groups and CGA Peach is part of CGA Strategy.

In the UK like-for-like sales were up 1.8% last month compared to June 2015 figures.  Pubs benefited from the Euro 2016 football tournament, which saw LFL sale increase 2.0% outpacing that of restaurant chains which were up 1.4%.

"Pubs did benefit from the football, with drink-led pubs and bars, especially those outside of London, up 3.8% on last June, but that was generally evened out by a drop off in eating out," said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS.

There was an added boost in early June according to Martin from a later than normal half-term break as well. "The later school half-term break, which this year fell in June against May in 2015, was a big factor in the improved performance, having had a corresponding negative impact last month," he explained.

Paul Newman, the head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, agreed that the later school holiday helped. He said: "Positive like-for-like sector growth in June appears to be driven largely by the timing of school holidays."

While LFL sales are up for the month, year on year growth is expected to remain a challenge for operators.

"The economic headwinds that were building in the early part of 2016 are likely to be with us for the rest of 2017, fuelled by Brexit economic uncertainty and international terrorism. The change in the value of sterling will help to sustain revenue figures in London, but will lead to increased cost pressures for all operators, some of which will probably be passed on through price increases," said Trevor Watson, executive director of valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons.

Martin agrees that year on year growth will remain a challenge. He said: "The truth is that the eating and drinking out market remains sluggishly slow with underlying growth of only around 1% year on year."