While the retail sector struggled, Britain’s managed pub and restaurant companies had cause to celebrate over the six-week Christmas and New Year period with collective like-for-like sales up a healthy 4.1% on 2017, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Both pub and restaurant operators saw positive sales growth over the festive season, with pubs enjoying the biggest uplift with collective like-for-likes ahead 5.1% against a 2.4% increase for restaurants.
London also benefited more than the rest of Britain, with like-for-likes over the six weeks to January 6 up 5.0% compared to 3.8% outside the M25.
“This is all in stark contrast to the gloom hanging over retail, which according to the British Retail Consortium suffered its worst Christmas for a decade with zero sales growth,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with TheCoffer Group and RSM.
“What these Tracker figures suggest is that consumers are being more selective about where they spend their money, and are looking for memorable experiences – like going out for a meal or drink with family or friends over Christmas – rather than just buying ‘things’,” added Chessell.
“The fact is the eating and drinking-out sectors had an excellent trading period in their busiest time of the year,” said Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure. “Consumers escaped the political turmoil and headed for pubs and restaurants to escape the tedium. Pre booked sales in particular were strong and the months ahead are going to be tough but at this crucial time trading was robust.”