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Perfect time for a pint is 5.30pm on a Saturday, survey finds

The summer heatwave has boosted takings for Britain’s struggling pubs but heaped more pressure on restaurant chains.

Pub and bar groups saw sales rise 2.7 per cent in July – but takings in restaurants were down 4.8 per cent, figures revealed.

Peter Martin, of business consultancy CGA, which compiled the figures, said: ‘Continued sunshine and England’s longer than expected participation in the World Cup meant July followed a similar pattern to the previous month of June, when pubs were up 2.8 per cent, except that restaurants were hit even harder.

‘The fall of 1.8 per cent in restaurant trading in June just got worse in July. Drink-led pubs and bars performed by far the strongest with like-for-likes up more than restaurants were down. Food-led pubs also suffered in the sun, although not as dramatically as the restaurant operators.

‘It seems people just wanted to go out for a drink. Across managed pubs and bars drink sales were up 6.6 per cent for the month, with food down three per cent.’

Paul Newman, of leisure and hospitality analysts RSM said: ‘These results continue the trend we’ve seen since the end of April. Weather and the impact of major social or sporting events remain the biggest factors when it comes to sales in the out-of-home market.

‘It comes as no surprise that restaurant groups continue to struggle, albeit a sales drop of 4.8 per cent year-on-year will be particularly painful on top of ongoing cost pressures.

‘The long hot summer could not have come at a worse time for food-led operators and time will tell whether the more moderate temperatures we’ve experienced in August will provide some much-needed respite.’

Total sales growth across pub and restaurants, including new openings, was 2.7 per cent in July, reflecting the slow down in brand roll-outs.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub, bar and restaurant sector collects and analyses performance data from 47 operating groups, with a combined turnover of over £9billion, and is the established industry benchmark.