The number of group run restaurants rose by 0.3% in the year to September 2019, despite an overall restaurant decline of 2.4%, research by CGA and AlixPartners has found.

Overall, licensed premises fell by 2%, the ninth successive quarter of year-on-year decline, but the Market Growth Monitor said the rate of closures was the lowest since mid-2018.

The report revealed that just over 26,000 sites closed, a net closure rate of 12 per week.

The bulk of closures were independents, as group-run restaurants experienced a net growth despite several major casual dining chains closing restaurants or falling into administration in 2019.

The report highlights similar contrasts in the pub sector. Leased pubs have fallen by more than 5,000 since September 2014, while managed pub operators have added nearly 1,000 new sites.

Most closures were amongst wet-led operators (-15.9%), while food-led sites have increased by 1.5%. These trends follow moves by leading pub groups to switch their emphasis to food.

“There’s no doubt that some leading casual dining names have had a tough 2019, but one brand’s difficulty is another’s opportunity,” said Graeme Smith, AlixPartners’ managing director. “With capacity having eased in recent months there is still a lot of opportunity for growth in casual dining—but only if the offer, execution and price are all spot on.”