The fact that the school holidays fell during November instead of October in many parts of the country this year is thought to be the main reason for the unusual sales boost during the month preceding the festive season, said Peach Factory's Peter Martin.
Compared to the previous year, November sales rose 3.4 per cent against a decline of 1.7 per cent for October, indicating that the half term dates had impacted sales at the restaurants and pubs, which include Whitbread, Gondola, Stonegate, Wagamama and Las Iguanas.
“School half terms are invariably a good time for eating-out sales, with London trading ahead of the rest of the country last month and restaurant chains doing marginally better than pubs too,” said Martin.
While the start of November was busy for the sector, particularly for operators within London, companies reported a drop later in the month.
“Sales in latter weeks were depressed as people appeared to be more reluctant to go out, possibly saving their cash for December’s pre-Christmas period. The market will hope so," said Martin, who produces the tracker in partnership with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS.
Looking forward, Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons and Ali Aneizi, co-head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, said operators were keeping fingers crossed for a 'bumper' Christmas.
"Many operators are hoping for favourable weather in the run up to the holiday season to support seasonal sales," said Watson, "Leisure park trade should also expect to see a boost as a result of new film releases over the next few weeks."
"It’s now all hands on deck for the festive season with many operators banking on a bumper trading period. However, it remains to be seen what will happen in December. The industry has some way to go to beat the 9.9 per cent like for likes posted in December 2011," added Aneizi.