Pub and restaurant groups reported the first fall in like-for-like sales this year in May, as they suffered a post-Easter and Royal Wedding hangover and felt the impact of the poorer weather. The latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors the performance of 22 major pub and restaurant groups including Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Gondola, found like-for-like sales declined by 0.3% last month, against a 3.8% rise in April. Total sales, including new openings, were up just 1.7% on 2010, but down 6.1% on April levels. Despite the 0.3% fall, the eating and drinking-out sector still held up better than retail. According to the British Retail Consortium / KPMG Retail Sales Monitor UK retail sales were 2.1% lower on a like-for-like basis in May, with total sales down 0.3%. Richard Hathaway, head of travel, Leisure and Tourism at KPMG in the UK said: “Broadly flat like for likes are indeed relatively sound in the context of recent retail numbers, but they also show that trading remains tough – it’s difficult to see strong sustained growth for the rest of 2011 from all but the top operators and hottest brands.” Jonathan Leinster, head of UBS European Leisure Research, said: “Following strong 3.8% growth in April, something of a pullback in May was expected. "This month’s results were ‘cleaner’ than last, with no one-off holidays and normal temperatures and hours of sun. Half term will appear in the June results, as it did last year. Taken together, April and May were not shabby, but could hardly be considered robust growth. "We are expecting little change from recent like-for-like sales trends for the rest of this year.”

Topics