Consumers still eating out despite squeeze on finances

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffer peach business, Investment, Coffer peach business tracker

Diners are continuing to eat out at branded restaurants such as Pizza Express despite the gloomy economy
Diners are continuing to eat out at branded restaurants such as Pizza Express despite the gloomy economy
Consumers are continuing to eat out at 24 of the UK's biggest pub and restaurant operators despite a squeeze on their personal finances, latest figures show.

While retail figures fell 0.6 per cent last month, like-for-like sales for operators contributing their figures to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker showed a rise of 0.9 per cent and total sales were up 5 per cent on October 2010.

The October figures come on the back of a 2.8 per cent like-for-like rise in September, a 0.6 per cent increase in August and a 1 per cent advance in July.

“People may be reluctant to go out and buy more ‘stuff’, but they are still willing to go out to eat and drink. It’s about the experience, especially if it’s good quality and great value,” said Peach Factory's Peter Martin, who produces the tracker in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.

“Quality is still the main factor in choosing where to go out, but value is becoming increasingly important, and with the cost of eating-in and eating-out narrowing in many parts of the market, it remains an attractive proposition even for those with families."

Eurozone

Richard Hathaway, KPMG’s head of travel, leisure & tourism, said desipte the turmoil in the Eurozone, the performance of Britain’s leading pub and restaurant operators was remaining 'remarkably robust'.

Many of the operators involved, which includes Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Strada owner Tragus, are continuing to invest in concepts and offers and competition is fierce. Similarly consumers are increasingly relying on well-known brands which offer value and consistency.

He said: "Although like-for-like growth remains modest, continued positive figures in the current environment are a credit to the quality of the sector’s brands and customer offerings. Total sales growth of 5.1 per cent demonstrates that operators continue to invest in new sites and upgrading or refreshing of existing portfolios."

“Looking forward, however, weak consumer confidence, high inflation and the on-going squeeze on personal finances remain the biggest threats to underlying growth for pub and restaurant operators and, unfortunately, these are not likely to go away anytime soon. The Chancellor’s autumn statement will therefore be eagerly awaited and the sector will be keen to see some growth stimulus measures that would encourage confidence during the festive season.”

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