December trade at pubs and restaurants fell more than 4%, according to new research. The latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors the performance of 17 major groups including Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Gondola, found like-for-like sales fell 4.2% in December due to the impact of the snow, and despite a post-Christmas rally that saw a strong performance in the final week of the month. Total sales, which include new openings fell 3.4%. Taken together figures for the two weeks of Christmas and New Year were up on 2009 despite the falls, and come off the back of six months of growth to November. Richard Hathaway, head of travel, leisure and tourism at KPMG, said: “These figures show that the sector’s leading operators had a decent festive season and clawed back some of the ground lost to the snow. But, just like retailers, we will probably see in due course that results across the sector for December, as with 2010 as a whole, were a mixed bag. “The strongest brands and best operators continue to take market share in what remains a fragile consumer economy. Further pressures from the recent VAT increase and weak confidence will drive further differentiation in performance between the winners and losers.”