Total sales for the month among the 31 companies in the Business Tracker were up 5.4 per cent on the previous year, reflecting the impact of new openings and the continued investment in sites, particularly among restaurant groups outside of London.
Companies trading outside London saw the best January’s sales uplift. Collective like-for-likes outside the M25 were up 2.4 per cent on last year, while London sales were essentially flat, registering a 0.4 per cent increase. This January pattern was similar to last year when overall the market was up 1.4 per cent on 2014 with restaurants outstripping pubs.
“January is a slow trading month, so not too much should be read into these figures, but the sector will be pleased to have started what looks like being a challenging year on a positive note,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach.
“Generally, casual dining brands also out-performed pubs and bars, with January like-for-likes up 3.6 per cent nationally and 4.7 per cent outside of London. The capital was a tougher trading environment for all in January.”
The long-term trend shows sector like-for-likes ahead 1.8 per cent nationally for the 12-months to the end of January against the previous 12-month period.
David Coffer, chairman of The Coffer Group, said the like-for-like sales figures for inside London reflected “to some extent” the sentiment Londoners experienced as a result of the November Paris atrocity.
“The superior like-for-likes for outside London are no surprise and confirms the trend of expansion away from an ever more expensive London market – in terms of property acquisition and indeed consumer prices,” said Coffer.
“The very high cost of London living is seeing the boundaries of Greater London extend to the provinces with many now commuting on a daily basis from provincial cities. This trend will also continue and further enhance trade outside of London.”
The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 31 operating groups. These include companies such as Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Express and Casual Dining Group.