Monday 15 April 2019 12:15 am

Retail and casual dining bounce back in March amid sunny spring weather

Reporter covering retail and property. Email stories to

Reporter covering retail and property. Email stories to

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Britain's pubs and restaurants cheered a recovery in trading last month, as warmer weather boosted the nation’s appetite for drinking and eating out.

A bounceback from cold, snowy weather last year saw collective like-for-like sales in restaurants and pubs grow by nearly four per cent in March, new data released today by the Coffer Peach Business Tracker and RSM has found.

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The news is likely to be welcome relief for many of the country’s struggling casual dining operators, which are facing increased pressure from more competition.

“With flowers blooming and the onset of British summertime, managed pub and restaurant groups bounced back this March with strong like for like performance unhindered by the poor weather conditions of last year’s ‘Beast from the East’,” said Saxon Moseley, RSM senior manager.

Moseley added: “With the later Easter break in 2019 and the possibility of progress on Brexit, there is cautious optimism that April will see a loosening of consumer purse strings and further good news for the sector.”

Meanwhile, new data has also found that the number of shoppers climbed by 1.4 per cent year-on-year last month, marking a sharp rise from a six per cent drop in March 2018 when stormy weather from the “Beast from the East” dented sales.

However, on a three-month basis, footfall dropped by 0.3 pre cent.

High street and retail shopper numbers climbed year-on-year, but shopping centre footfall tumbled one per cent during March, marking the 24th consecutive month of decline, according to the newly-published data from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium.

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Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said that the rise in footfall “should be regarded as an exceptional circumstance relating to a dramatic slump in footfall in March 2018”.

She added: “The result clearly indicates that we continue to be in the midst of a no splurge culture; with consumer confidence continuing to languish, shoppers are clearly focussed on prudence.”