Sweltering temperatures have lifted sales at two of the Midlands’ biggest pub groups.
Wolverhampton-based Marston’s said takings at its upmarket Pitcher & Piano and Revere chains were running six per cent higher on a year ago after the recent heatwave boosted demand.
Meanwhile, Birmingham-based Harvester and Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers said its rate of sales growth almost tripled as the mercury rose.
Pub chains’ growing food and drink sales will add to hopes over increasing consumer spending after official figures confirmed the economy grew by 0.6 per cent between April and June – driven by Britain’s dominant services sector.
The brewers’ trading marks a sharp turnaround from the start of the year, when poor weather kept drinkers away, and was set against last year’s summer washout, when April to June was the wettest on record.
Marston’s, which has 2,100 pubs and bars across the UK, said like-for-like sales increased six per cent in the 10 weeks to July 20 in its 340-strong division of food-based premium pubs.
But sales were flat in its bigger community and leased pubs divisions, after last year’s earnings received a boost from the Euro 2012 football tournament.
Marston’s said it has raised £35 million from selling unwanted pubs this year, as it shrinks to focus on more profitable food-based pubs.
Birmingham-based M&B, which has about 1,600 restaurants and pubs, said like-for-like sales were two per cent higher during the nine weeks to July 20.
That was almost three times its 0.7 per cent growth rate seen across the year to date.
Drink sales grew 2.7 per cent in its third quarter to July 20, compared with a 0.2 per cent increase in food sales.
M&B chief executive Alistair Darby said trading was in line with expectations.
He added: “While the cash in people’s pockets remains tight, consumers continue to demand great service and excellent value when they eat and drink out.”
The figures follow upbeat trading from pub chain JD Wetherspoon, which suggested yesterday that increasing optimism about the economy drove like-for-like sales 3.5 per cent higher in the 11 weeks to July 14.