London's restaurants brace for make or break festive period as sales fall again in October

Alys Key
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Tougher competition in the market means sales have declined again (Source: Getty)

Sales at London's restaurants fell again in October, as sales across UK pubs and eateries edged up just 0.3 per cent.

Same-store sales for restaurants in London fell 2.1 per cent compared to last October, according to the monthly Coffer Peach business tracker. This comes off the back of a 3.2 per cent decline in September.

"The restaurant market in particular is highly competitive and especially in London," explained Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure. "Patterns of trade appear to be changing. The very best operators are trading very well and many outlets have queues, but the market is fickle and is a challenge as we approach the crucial trading period. With costs increasing for many it is a case of ‘battening down the hatches’."

Read more: Consumers are reining in spending and restaurants are the first to lose out

Like-for-like sales at restaurants across the UK as a whole were down 1.5 per cent.

But there was a better news for the UK's pubs, which had comparable sales growth of 1.4 per cent in the period. This comes after pub operators including Marston's, J.D. Wetherspoon and Young's have all recently reported solid growth.

Read more: Young's pubs just bought these iconic City watering holes

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at services firm RSM said: "Consumers are continuing to choose to spend on ‘big ticket’ experiences such as holidays and sporting/entertainment events as their budgets get squeezed further. Operators will be desperate to see a reversal of this trend throughout the all-important festive trading season.

"For some, it could be the difference between survival or failure as we move into the New Year."

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