Restaurants and pubs have seen their sales rise for the third consecutive month, according to figures published by the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Taken from a sample of 13 major chains, the statistics for July showed like-for-like sales up 1 per cent following growth trends of 0.6 per cent in May and 0.4 per cent in June.
The figures also show that bigger businesses are still outperforming independents, up 4.6 per cent against 2008, as reported last month.
Peter Martin, founder of the Peach Factory consultancy, which ran the survey in partnership with KPMG, UBS bank and Coffer Group, said: “Their focus on improved marketing, promotions and delivering value is having an undoubted impact on the top-line,” adding that while it puts pressure on margins, operators will have to get used to working within a smaller margin.
Despite fears of a drop in out of home spending, the rise shows that eating out may be something consumers aren’t willing to cut back on during the downturn.
Jonathan Leinster, head of European leisure and tobacco research at UBS Investment Bank, said: “It is normal for sales in July to be 4-6 per cent ahead of June sales,” although added that the rise in like-for-likes may be due to fewer people taking overseas holidays over the summer.
Domestic holidays for consumers may be good news for restaurant footfall, but experts advise to focus on cash flow and costs.
Will Hawkley of KPMG, said: "The results confirm that trading at the leading restaurant and pub groups is holding up well during the downturn. However, operators will have to keep their focus on cash flow and driving down costs whilst continuing to generate innovative promotional campaigns."