According to the latest data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, the figures translated to a 2.1 per cent increase in like-for-likes across the country as a whole, with the effects of the Olympics, better weather and last year’s riotsall playing their part in the year-on year uplift.
“There were a number of factors at play – the bounce back from last year’s August riots, brighter weather for much of the month and, of course, the Olympics,” said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the sector barometer.
“Across the country as a whole, the second week of the month, which coincided with the anniversary of the riots that severely hit areas of London and other major cities, saw the biggest increase against last year’s trading, suggesting a real riot-related bounce-back.”
When it came to measuring the real ‘Olympic effect’, it is clear from the Business Tracker that some operators saw their usual trade in London disruptedas regular customers stayed at home, but others have reported buoyant trading. It all seems to depend on where their sites were, particularly their proximity to the Games action.
“London pubsseemed to benefit most from the August uplift, with like-for-like growth approaching 7 per cent,” added Martin. “While casual dining chains in London may have been up only 2.8 per cent against last August, it at least reversed a recent trend of falling like-for-likes inside the M25, where restaurant groups have been generally struggling against increasingly intense and diverse competition.
No Games dividend
“Gauging whether there was an overall Olympic bonus in the Capital, or how big it was, is clouded by the ‘riots effect’. However, it is fair to say that the rest of the country did not receive a Games dividend, with overall sales only marginally up on last year, despite the better weather.
“Nonetheless, the major pub and restaurant chains will not be too disappointed. An overall 2.1 per cent like-for-like sales increase may not be scintillating, but it gets the market back in-line with the underlying growth rate, and is an improvement of the 0.2 per cent market decline in July and the more modest 1.3 per cent increase in June. The year-on-year like-for-like rate is currently running at around 2 per cent.”
Total sales across the 25 companies in the Tracker sample were overall up by 6.2 per cent on last August, including a 10.5 per cent increase inside the M25 and a 4.6 per cent gain outside, reflecting the increasing market-share that major chains are continuing to win in the domestic eating and drinking out market and they open more sites.
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, struck a positive note on the monthly numbers. He said: “The incredible worldwide coverage for London and the UK this summer is the real story.
“Some operators in the UK have suffered badly, but the long-term benefit to the hospitality sector nationally will be immense. London will be top of the must visit list for many millions of people and the positive spirit within the UK may well help to get people spending again which will take us out of recession.
“In total, these like for likes are surprisingly positive given the television coverage of the Games this summer and the mass exodus after the Olympics.”