Trade at restaurant and pub groups moved back into positive territory in February following a dip in January caused by heavy snowfall across the UK.
Like-for-like sales were up 1.3 per cent on the same month in 2009 and up 18 per cent on January's sales at the 15 major companies surveyed for the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
“This latest set of sales figures are back in line with trading seen during most of 2009, when the Tracker group collectively recorded nine consecutive months of steadily positive like-for-likes up until January,” said Peter Martin of the Peach Factory, which producers the Tracker in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.
Despite the move back into positive growth, Richard Hathaway, head of Travel, Leisure and Tourism at KPMG, said consumer confidence and the uncertain economic outlook remain 'big challenges' for the sector this year.
"Potential clouds on the horizon include the threat of public sector spending cuts impacting jobs and hence consumer spending, and rumours of a potential VAT rise. Shrewd operators will be focusing on quality service and competitive pricing to keep customers coming through the doors,” he said.