-Like for like sales figures flatline for hospitality providers in December 2019.


According to analysis of more than 1,500 sites using S4labour software, overall like for like sales were static in December 2019, compared with the same month in 2018, falling by 0.1%.


There was positive like for like growth of 1.1% for sales of food in December 2019, however drinkers were more restrained than last year, resulting in a slip of 1.0% in drink sales.


Once again London outperformed the rest of the country, with an overall like for like growth of 1.2% compared to a fall of 0.3% outside London. One of the standout figures from December was a 4.2% growth in like for like sales for food orientated businesses inside the capital. Food orientated business outside London barely managed to grow at all, raising just 0.3%.


Figures that take the key festive dates of the 24th, 25th, 26th and the 31st in isolation show a much more vibrant picture of the sector, with an overall 3.9% like for like increase on the same days trading in 2018. While drink sales may have been sluggish for the month on the whole, drinks sales spiked 4.6% higher than the same dates in 2018. Surprisingly, it was wet-led sites outside of London that out performed those in the capital. Wet-led sites saw like for like sales up 6.8% over the key festive dates compared to 4.5% in London.


The success of the few days around Christmas suggests that people were more inclined to stay at home for much of the month, but were more willing to splash out on the biggest hospitality days of the year. It is possible that business may have missed opportunities throughout the month of December, focusing too heavily on the last week.


While the figures for retail are still being crunched, most analysts expect high street spending during December to fall again this year. The rise in online shopping may well have negatively impacted footfall for the hospitality sector also.

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