Pub growth comes ‘at the expense of restaurants’ as sunshine warms up managed groups' sales

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pub growth comes ‘at the expense of restaurants’ as sunshine warms up managed groups' sales

Related tags Cga Casual dining Multi-site Coffer CGA Business Tracker Sales growth Inflation

Britain’s managed restaurant, pub and bar groups recorded a ninth successive month of year-on-year sales growth in June 2023, the new Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows.

The Tracker, produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK, reveals total like-for-like sales increased by 6.7% in June. The hot weather brought consumers out to drink in pubs — especially those with beer gardens and terraces — and sales in this segment were up by 10.8% on June 2022.

However, some of this growth came at the expense of restaurants, where sales finished 3.2% ahead year-on-year.

The bars segment completed a difficult first half of 2023 with an 8.4% drop in sales. Combined sales growth remains just below the level of inflation, though the gap between the two has closed over the first half of this year.

“These numbers highlight the impressive resilience of managed hospitality groups despite rising costs for businesses and consumers,” says Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ.

“People remain eager to visit pubs, bars and restaurants when they can, especially during warm weather, and pub operators and suppliers will hope for more high temperatures as the summer holiday season begins — though it’s important to remember that sunshine isn’t so positive for indoor-only restaurants.

“More interest rate rises may dampen consumers’ confidence and cost pressures remain for operators, but the long-term outlook for the sector remains good.”

Growth was even across the country in June, the Tracker indicates. Managed groups’ like-for-like sales growth within the M25 was 8.1% as London continued its post-Covid recovery — just ahead of the level of 6.7% beyond the M25.

“With June officially the hottest on record, pubs were the main beneficiaries as customers opted to make the most of the sunshine and fine weather,” says Saxon Moseley, partner in RSM UK’s leisure and hospitality.

“While restaurant like for likes remained stubbornly below inflation, the fact they continue to grow in the face of rising mortgage costs is a testament to the resilience of the sector and consumer appetite for eating out.

“With food price inflation falling for the fourth consecutive month, operators will be hopeful that margins begin to improve as we head into the summer holiday season.”

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