The week running up to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was the worst performing week of July for the UK’s leading restaurant, pub and bar groups, pushing an otherwise generally flat period into negative territory.
According to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker data, the sector saw combined like-for-likes drop by 0.2 per cent in July compared with the same month last year. This follows the 1.3 per cent increase in June.
“There has been much speculation of the impact of the London 2012 Olympics on the pub and restaurant market,” said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the company which produces the tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and UBS. “Our July figures include the week running up to the opening ceremony and the first weekend, which was actually the worst performing week of the month.
“However, the full impact will not be seen until the August figures are published, although we do know from provisional figures that, for the market as a whole, the first full week of the Games was marginally up on the same week last year.”
Total sales across the 25 companies in the Coffer Peach Business Tracker sample were in fact up by 3.6 per cent on July 2011, reflecting the increasing market-share that major players continue to win in the domestic eating and drinking out market.
Value and customer choice
The rise in sales among big brands follows data released last week by foodservice consultancy Technomic which revealed that the largest chains also grew in size, by 4.9 per cent to 17,593 units by the end of 2011 - a continued increase in growth from 3.9 per cent of the previous year.
“This is being driven by a consumer move towards brands, the importance of value as well as quality in customer choice and the continued roll-out of new sites by established operators,” added Martin.
“The weather has not helped progress this year, but Tracker data still shows the annualised like-for-like sales growth rate for the leading groups is currently running at 2.2 per cent year-on-year, with total sales running at around 5.8 per cent up. This may be only in-line with inflation, but this sector is beating the economy as a whole when it comes to growth – and is something the Government should perhaps recognise.”
This month’s figures also continue to show pub and pub restaurant operators delivering better like-for-like figures than high street casual dining. ”This is most marked within the M25 where restaurant groups are up against increasingly intense and diverse competition. Pubs seem to be doing better in London, and are providing part of that competition.
“In the market overall, chains are finding more growth away from the capital.”
Satisfaction and caution
Analysing these figures, Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Although these statistics don’t at first sight look a gold medal performance, the fact that the overall figures are broadly neutral should probably be treated with both satisfaction and a degree of caution.
“Comparing trading figures in the restaurant and pub industry across the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013 will be challenging as the London riots of 2011 and the Olympic Games of 2012 distort trading patterns at the local level.
“The statistical background is complex, with underlying UK population growing, but visitor numbers to the UK (which has a profound effect on London trade) disappointingly down in H1 2012, as the Eurozone crisis continues and sterling strengthened.”
The 25 companies used for the Coffer Peach Business Tracker represent a combined annual turnover of over £6bn. Participants include Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Hut, Whitbread, Gondola, Tragus, Stonegate, Spirit Group, TGI Fridays, Orchid Pub Co, Marston’s, Wagamama, Las Iguanas, YO! Sushi, Novus, Fuller’s, Barracuda, Carluccio’s, Young’s, Living Ventures, Amber Taverns, Hall & Woodhouse, Ed’s Easy Diner, Gaucho, Intertain and Le Bistrot Pierre.