As news today revealed pubs are closing at an accelerated rate of 52 per week, new figures show Britain’s major pub and restaurant groups are continuing to hold steady despite ‘tough trading conditions’.
The monthly Coffer Peach Business Tracker, operated by Peach Factory in conjunction with KPMG, UBS and Coffer Group, found aggregated like-for-like sales from 13 of the leading restaurant and pub groups grew by 0.4 per cent in June.
The figure supports the British Beer and Pub Association’s (BBPA) verdict that chains are outperforming independently run establishments, as it revealed today 80 per cent of pub closures have been community pubs.
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said large chains are better equipped to survive the recession over smaller businesses.
“Multiple operators are growing turnover at the expense of independents, in part through offering discounts with which independents simply cannot compete in terms of scale,” he said. “Web and email based marketing plays an increasingly important role in this process.”
While the small sales growth follows an equally successful month of May, which saw a 0.6 per cent like-for like increase, industry experts are warning of further troubles ahead for large operators.
Richard Hathaway, head of travel, leisure and tourism at KPMG, said: “How the weather performs during July and August is likely to have a considerable bearing on whether this slowing in sales becomes a longer-term decline. There is also the looming cloud on the horizon of swine flu. If a pandemic does take hold, restaurants and bars are bound to take a hit, as people steer clear of others, or are laid low.”
BBPA figures released today showed around 5,134 pubs have closed in the last three years, although branded establishments continue to open at a rate of two per week.