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Drinks sales rescue on-trade from weak November

Published:  09 December, 2019

Drinks sales in Britain’s pubs helped the on-trade stay in growth in November, latest monthly food-and-drink data from the Coffer Peach Tracker has shown.

Like-for-like pub drink sales were up 1.1% compared to the same period last year, while pub food sales fell back 0.2%, giving overall growth of 0.7%, the survey shows.

Food-and-drink sales in the UK’s restaurants were down 0.1%, although a higher per-head spend helped mask a 2.1% fall in the number of covers served. The pub-and-restaurant sector as whole grew 0.5% on November 2018.

However, the positive growth was largely due to the autumn half-term holidays falling at the beginning of the month, according to Karl Chessell, director of business consultancy CGA, which produces the monthly tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

“Eating out in pubs as well as restaurants [came] under pressure,” he said. “School half-term holidays at the start of the month produced a healthy first week of trading, and without that we would have been looking at negative sales across the board for the month.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at accountantcy firm RSM said, “It was perhaps unsurprising that a wet and windy November saw diners sheltering at home rather than braving the elements. With drinks-led businesses seeing like-for-like sales growth, the signs are positive that the festive trading season will deliver some welcome news for the sector.”

The Coffer Peach Tracker analyses data from 58 restaurant and pub groups across the UK covering both large and small operations with a collective turnover of over £11bn.

Taking into account new openings, total sales across the cohort last month were up 3.0% on November 2018.