Restaurants and pubs didn't get the bumper Easter sales they hoped for over the four-day holiday weekend, and trading is expected to remain flat for the foreseeable future, new figures reveal.
Collectively, Britain's managed pubs and restaurant groups said like-for-like sales were down 3.8 per cent compared with the holiday weekend the previous year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures.
Pubs noted a one per cent fall in like-for-like sales, but restaurants were hardest hit as sales plunged 9.1 per cent.
“It was not a good time for eating out, as within the pub figures food-led businesses were down more than their drink-led competitors, which actually saw a slight increase in trade,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker along with Coffer Group and RSM.
“The weather will have played its part in the comparatively poor performance in restaurants, but Easter falling late this year in April, rather than in March last year, will have been a factor too,” Martin said.
Martin said there will be "nervousness" about consumer spending as cost pressures hit both businesses and consumers.
"We expect overall trading to remain fairly flat for the foreseeable future," he said.
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM said: “These latest figures highlight the tougher consumer environment for the eating and drinking out sector. Since June we’ve seen a significant drop in consumer confidence and this year’s Easter spending will have been impacted by the squeeze on household budgets due to rising inflation and relatively static wages."