Early Easter helps with pub sales growth

The latest CGA RSM Tracker has revealed a increase in sales of 5.2%

Many of Britain’s top hospitality groups achieved above-inflation like-for-like sales growth in March.

The latest CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker has revealed a increase in sales of 5.2%, with events such as Mother’s Day and St Patrick’s Day contributing.

However, the high like-for-like growth metrics seen in pubs and bars were aided by early Easter Bank Holiday revenues in March 2024, while last year Easter trading fell into April 2023.

The Tracker, produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with RSM UK, shows celebrations delivered particularly strong growth for the managed pub sector, where like-for-like sales were up by 7.2% in March.

While bars still recorded a decline of 0.5% in March, this is somewhat of an improvement from the 13.6% and 7.4% declines in January and February respectively, showing the impact the early Bank Holiday weekend celebrations and holidays has had on the hospitality sector.

For the first month since November, restaurant, pub and bar groups achieved higher growth outside London than within the capital. March sales inside the M25 were 4% ahead of last year, but ahead by 5.7% beyond it.

Encouraging for hospitality 

"These figures are encouraging for hospitality after a slow start to 2024 and show that people remain eager to celebrate holidays and special occasions in restaurants, pubs and bars," says Karl Chessell, a director at CGA by NIQ. "While spending remains tight for many consumers, we can be cautiously optimistic that their confidence will continue to increase in 2024 in line with an easing of inflation. Operators still face severe headwinds, and it may be some time before they generate sustained real-terms growth, but March showed the sector is moving in the right direction."

Participants in the CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker include Adventure Bars, Amber Taverns, Anglian Country Inns, Arc Inspirations, Darwin & Wallace, Fuller's, Oakman Inns, Punch Pubs & Co, Shepherd Neame and many more. 

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