Pub and restaurant groups have reported a positive start to 2016, with collective like-for-like sales for January up 1.9% on last year.
According to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, businesses outside of London saw the best sales uplift during January, with collective like-for-likes outside of the M25 up 2.4% on last year. London sales remained flat, with just a 0.4% increase. Casual dining brands also out-performed pubs and bars, with January like-for-likes up 3.6% nationally and 4.7% outside of London.
The long-term trend shows sector like-for-likes ahead 1.8% nationally for the 12 months to the end of January against the previous 12-month period.
The report is produced by business insight consultancy CGA Peach, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS. Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach said: '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.
'This January’s pattern was similar to last year's, when overall the market was up 1.4% on 2014, and with restaurants outstripping pubs, perhaps reflecting the continued impact of 'dry January'.'
David Coffer, chairman of The Coffer Group, said: 'The January like-for-like sales figures for inside London reflect, to some extent, the emotional sentiment Londoners experienced as a result of the November Paris atrocity. It is comforting to note the apparent small rebound in January. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues onwards through to the summer.
'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. This trend is expected to continue.'
Total sales for the month among the 31 companies in the Tracker cohort – which include Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Hut, Whitbread, Pizza Express, Novus and Spirit Group – were up 5.4% on the previous year.