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London on-trade sees October sales up 4.1%

Published:  12 November, 2014

London bar and restaurant chains have seen like for like sales up 4.1% in October, while outside the capital managed operators are ramping up new site openings.

According to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which monitors performance data from 29 groups including M&B, Pizza Express and Carluccio's, said nationally lfl sales were up 2.2% versus last year, with managed pubs putting in strong performances.

Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, singled out casual dining chains as also trading strongly. "But while the London market is getting better same-store growth, the chains, and in particular casual dining brands, are increasingly investing in opening new sites outside the M25," said Martin.

Eating outRestaurant and bar chains saw October sales up 2.2% nationallySource: Mitchells & ButlersManaged operators have put in the strongest performance, and London is outperforming the rest of the country, although brnads are increasingly investing in new sites outside the capital.

"Nationally, total sales were ahead 5.7% on last October, with restaurant group sales up 11% on a year ago outside of London, largely as a result of that extra site capacity," he added.

Pubs and bars outside London are still the weakest part of the market, with like-for-like sales essentially flat in October.

Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: "The October figures highlight that, in the corporate casual dining market, the rate of new store opening is significantly greater away from London, largely because of greater availability of sites and the improved returns available in these areas. The London market is vibrant with rents at record levels, with overseas and independent operators dominating. This is typical for this phase of the cycle. Trading performance continues to be strong both in the capital and across the country as economic recovery strengthens and the prospects of an imminent interest rate rise recede."

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, added: "Having 19 consecutive months of like for like growth for the UK eating and drinking out market is a fantastic achievement.

But he warned that managed chains were leading the way heading into the winter months. "Innovative fit outs incorporating comfortable surroundings with a wide selection of craft beers together with a quality food offering is driving this resurgence, particularly within London and larger cities around the UK," he said.