Some rather encouraging figures have been released that provide welcome reading to those involved with the restaurant trade.
According to a leading market analysis firm the nation’s restaurant and pub groups have, collectively, have seen like-for-like sales grow by over 2% during the month of October when compared to the same month last year.
“Overall, the [businesses] are seeing steady, consistent growth in eating and drinking out,” said Peter Martin, the vice-president of an insight company.
However, despite the heartening figures, it was London that led the growth: Those encircled by the M25 saw sales jump by 4%.
“Casual dining chains in the capital [traded] strongly,” Martin conceded.
Also the weak point of the industry was found away from London, with pubs and bars away from the capital with the data indicating the like-for-like sales remained flat and didn’t really improve from September’s numbers either.
But instead of interpreting this as a negative many believe that London may be the place to be now, the rest of the country is ready to catch up with Martin noting that “the chains, and in particular casual dining brands, are increasingly investing in opening new sites outside of the M25.”
Trevor Watson, a fellow director, believes the outlook is actually rather optimistic. “The rate of new store [openings] is significantly greater away from London, largely because of greater availability of sites and the improved returns available in these areas.”
Watson went on to state that he believes that the London sector, whilst vibrant, is having to contend with rents at record levels and has seen numerous independent and (wealthy) overseas operators in dominant market positions.
With the Christmas period around the corner it is believed this strong run of results – which actually stretch back some nineteen months – will continue, but with pub chains seeing an uptake in business.