Managed pub and restaurant group trading flat-lined last month, on the back of tough comparables from the previous year, the latest figures from Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

Collective like-for-like sales growth across the market was zero, compared with the same period last year. London suffered a 0.6% decline in like for like sales. Those outside the M25 enjoyed a marginal 0.2% lfl uplift.

Restaurant chains outperformed pubs and bars with lfl sales up 3.1%. Pub and bar groups saw collective lfl dink sales fall 2.4% and food dip 1.6%.

Karl Chessell, director of CGA, which produces the Tracker with Coffer Group and RSM, said: “The public still went out to eat and drink, but only at the same level as last May.”

While this could initially seem like bad news for the market, especially after the positive growth seen in March and April, May 2018 benefitted from consistently good weather and the royal wedding, which both boosted performance.

“Maintaining sales against this positive backdrop, and throughout what is widely acknowledged as tougher trading conditions, is no mean feat,” he said.

David Coffer Lyons executive director Trevor Watson said the pattern of spending in restaurants and bars reflected weather variations. “At Davis Coffer Lyons, we are experiencing improved activity in terms of site finding, with many successful operators taking the view that now is a good time to acquire high quality locations without needing to pay for excessive premiums.”

Paul Newman, partner and head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added that given the backdrop of continuing political and economic uncertainty, growth rates had remained “remarkably resilient” throughout May.

Operators had experienced much volatility in recent trading with performance fluctuating wildly throughout April, with a late Easter weekend, shifting bank holidays and some extremes of weather to navigate.

“The overall market remains flat and those who remain open for business will hope to begin to benefit from recent restaurant closures in the months ahead,” said Newman.