While heavy rain fall and high winds continue to batter the UK, sales at the majority of the 27 pub and restaurant groups monitored by the tracker are faring better than they did during last January's heavy snowfall, said Peter Martin of CGA Peach, which produces the report in partnership with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly & UBS.
“Although January was the wettest on record and parts of the country have been severely hit by floods, the wet weather hasn’t stopped people going out in the same way that the snow and freezing conditions across the country last January kept people at home. Last January sales fell 2.4 per cent against the same month in 2012,” he said.
Operators outside London felt the biggest benefit with like-for-likes up 7.5 per cent against 6.6 per cent inside the M25 said Martin.
“While all parts of the market performed better than last year, eating-out benefitted more than drinking out, with pub restaurant and casual dining chains together seeing a 8.4 per cent like-for-like uplift," he added.
Strong sales for January follow a positive festive season and add to the growing optimism detected among operators in the sector, said Martin. Collective like-for-like sales for operators contributing figures to the tracker, who include Tragus, Gondola, Spirit and Mitchells & Butlers, are running 2.4 per cent ahead of the previous year and total sales for January are ahead 10.1 per cent.
“Although not too much should perhaps be read into the numbers because of the weather factor and because January is normally a quieter month, the scale of the increase will nonetheless add to the growing optimism we are detecting among operators in sector," he said.
David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group, said: “These figures reflect a continuing positive feeling that we are seeing throughout the sector. It is particularly heartening to see the growth outside the M25, which affirms the progressive confidence in the suburbs and provinces from operators with less dependence upon the Greater London area.
"It is now fully accepted that these non-London locations offer great opportunities in terms of value and customer support. This may well be an indication that central London is becoming overheated in terms of property costs. January’s figures indicate that we, as an industry, are coming out of recession fully - 2014 continues to look promising as a result.”
How have the UK floods affected your business? Like these pub and restaurant groups have they failed to dampen sales or are you struggling to stay afloat? Let us know in the comments section below.