Pub and restaurant groups reported a rise in like-for-like sales in June, as the half-term holidays and the “World Cup effect” helped operators recover from a decline in sales during May. The latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors the performance of 23 major pub and restaurant groups including Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Gondola, found like-for-like sales climbed by 3.9% last month, against a 0.3% decline in May. Total sales, including new openings, were up 4.7% on 2010, as operators benefited from the half-term school holidays and the lack of a major football tournament this year. Pub and restaurant groups had 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 new figures also show that pubs and restaurants continued to out-perform the retail sector. According to the British Retail Consortium / KPMG Retail Sales Monitor total UK retail sales were up just 1.5% in June. Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “Multiple pub and restaurant operators are continuing to gain market share from independent operators, especially outside London. The World Cup last year was particularly tough for restaurants who are consequently seeing good like-for-like growth on weak figures. The hospitality sector is working hard to combat weak consumer spending.” Richard Hathaway, head of travel, leisure and tourism at KPMG in the UK, said: “These are pretty respectable figures, showing that smart operators and dynamic brands in the sector continue to take a growing share of the UK consumer's hard earned and shrinking disposable income. “Eating-out is still on the agenda for many households, despite considerable doom and gloom in the economy, and there being no real sign of this changing before the end of the year.” Jonathan Leinster, head of UBS European leisure research, said: “Consumers are still allocating discretionary spend to pubs and restaurants, with like-for-like sales averaging 2.6% since December. While UBS expects household cash flow to be under pressure this year, there is still demand for eating and drinking out. We believe this points to market share gains from value formats. Large listed pub companies with scale, which have been investing through the downturn, should be well positioned. We have ‘buy’ ratings on JD Wetherspoon, Marston’s and Greene King.?? “Some investors have raised concerns about margin pressures as utility and food and beverage contracts are renewed. We are less concerned. Groups dealt well with much greater input cost pressures in 2008/2009, and labour and rent costs are much less of an issue now.”