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Festive sales boost British on-trade

Published:  15 January, 2020

The festive season brought cheer for Brtiain’s on-trade, with like-for-like sales up 2.5% on the same six-week period in 2018, according to data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Managed pub and bar groups performed particularly well, with sales up 2.7% year on year. Drink sales in the category rose 2.4%, and food 2.2%.

The emphasis on wet-led businesses and robust drinks sales also saw bar businesses thrive, rising 3.9%.

Restaurant growth was a more modest 2.3%.

BWS sales at the UK’s supermarkets declined by 0.1% in the same period, as Harpers has previously reported, while the grocery sector as a whole experienced its lowest growth since 2014, up just 0.5%.

“It has been a challenging year for the eating and drinking-out market, so these figures will be a welcome boost for operators,” said Karl Chessell, director of business insight consultancy CGA, which produces the tracker, in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

“These results emphasise how important this time of year is to the health of the market, and that operators have to keep creating good reasons for people to go out.”

Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “There is a post-election sense of optimism, and food and drink consumers have driven the first wave of this during the pre-Christmas period.

“This year, we are starting to see cautious confidence in the market although expect that any uplift in trade and consumer confidence will be steady rather than spectacular. We expect market activity in 2020 to see an increase on 2019 levels.”

New openings over the last year push overall sales for the festive period up 5.4% on 2018.