Hospitality trading 'now consistently ahead year-on-year'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs, restaurants and bars grow sales again in February

Related tags Cga Casual dining Multi-site R200 Sales

February sales at Britain’s leading managed restaurant, pub and bar groups were 3.9% ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals.

The Tracker — produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK — has now recorded year-on-year growth for five consecutive months. However, the figure is substantially down from 10.1% in January and is well below the current rate of inflation in the UK.
Pubs performed the best of the Tracker’s three market segments to continue a solid start to 2023, with like-for-like sales 6.9% ahead of February 2022. Restaurants achieved modest growth of 1.9% but the bars segment continued to struggle, with sales down 10.1%.

“Hospitality trading is now consistently ahead year-on-year, and consumers’ appetite for pubs in particular remains undimmed,” says Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ.

“That demand allows the sector to be optimistic when planning for the long term.”
Continuing the pattern of recent months, sales in London comfortably outpaced the rest of the country in February. The Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows sales within the M25 were 7.6% ahead year-on-year — well over twice the growth of 3.1% outside the M25.

“London continues to rebound strongly,” says Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure.

“There is strong demand for the best sites in London and we expect this to continue. We expect to see sales growth mainly on the back of price rises but what operators need to see across the board is increased volume, which is difficult to see until wage rises outstrip inflation.”

Publication of the figures come after last week's Budget, which frustrated the sector​ by failing to tackle some of the main challenges directly facing the operators,​​ with the only targeted help targeted coming in the form of an extension of draught relief.

“The real issue the sector faces is the cost of doing business right now,” adds Chessell. 

“It was therefore disappointing to hear about the lack of energy support in the budget. This risks the future of many businesses to survive this period of cost pressure and benefit from the positive demand that exists.”

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