The Tracker, which is produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with RSM UK, indicated like-for-like growth of 5.9% last month — close to both the Tracker’s August figure of 5.3% and the general rate of inflation in the UK.
Above-average temperatures in many parts of the country made it a strong month for pubs, where sales grew 8.6% as many consumers enjoyed visits to beer gardens and terraces. Growth in the restaurants sector was a little lower at 4.8%.
Bars, meanwhile, had another challenging month, with sales down by 8.9%.
“A cool August made for a good month for restaurants, but better weather in September flipped the fortunes in favour of pubs,” says Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ.
“Overall growth of 5.9% represents another solid performance for managed groups, and shows consumers remain eager to eat and drink out. Ongoing high inflation and interest rates continue to make conditions difficult for many businesses and consumers alike, but we can be cautiously optimistic about a strong final quarter and festive season.”
Groups’ year-on-year performance has been better in London than the rest of the country ever since September 2022, and sales growth within the M25 again beat the average at 6.1%. However, with trading beyond the M25 up by 5.8% last month, the gap between the two regions has closed.
The new figures are taken from the first edition of the CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker, which was previously known as the Coffer CGA Business Tracker. CGA by NIQ collected sales figures directly from 93 leading managed groups for September’s report.
“Despite recent reports that consumers are beginning to pull back on discretionary spending, an unseasonably warm month and the start of the Rugby World Cup have come together to drive strong spending in pub and restaurant groups in September,” says Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK.
"Consumer confidence rose to its highest level in almost two years last month and looking beyond the standard downbeat headlines, it’s not too hard to see why. Real wage growth has turned positive again, interest rates appear to have peaked sooner than expected and inflation looks set to fall further. Operators will be hoping that these positive vibes continue as we approach the all-important festive trading period.”