Restaurants and online thrive over Christmas
The restaurant trade is reporting a good Christmas, although the bad weather of the past two weeks has kept customers away.
Doug Wregg, director of sales and marketing for Les Caves de Pyrene, said: “Christmas was phenomenal. We were 25% up on last year and it was totally unexpected, sales were just increasing every day. Then again we may all pay for it in January with the bad weather and when no one has any money left.”
David Gleave, managing director of Liberty Wines, said it had its best December ever and was 40% up on the previous year and 30% up in November. “I think people suffered frugility fatigue and decided just to spend", he said.
Dan Bolton, director of on-trade sales at Bibendum, experienced a good December. “Volumes were above last December and a reversal of the deep down-trading we saw in 2008. This was reflected across all on-trade channels. In particular trading in the first 3 weeks of December was very strong".
Online wine merchant Virgin Wines had another record breaking month in December. Jay Wright, managing director, said: “Sales for the period were 36% ahead of expectations at £6.3m, with the business shipping over 120,000 cases to customers all over the UK. In addition, over 20,000 new customers used Virgin Wines for the first time.”
Laithwaites' managing director Phil Hullah said: “Overall, it has been a very successful Christmas period. During our busiest week, in the worst of the weather, we managed to make over 140,000 deliveries to our customers.”
Xavier Rousset, co-owner of Texture restaurant in London, said it had been quiet over the past week due to the freezing conditions, with one party of 14 cancelling at the last minute. “People just haven’t been going out because of the snow,” he said.
While Gerard Basset, owner of Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest said: "Christmas and New Year was brilliant for us. On the other hand the first two weeks of January have been extremely hit by the snow. We went from 80% to 35% occupancy for that period! "