Pub firm makes Christmas record

Focus on value, service and quality helps Greene King achieve strong sales

Greene King reported a 4.1% uplift in food sales across its estate of managed pubs.

DELIVERING excellent value, service and quality to customers is credited with helping Greene King achieve “record” sales across its managed pubs over Christmas and New Year.

The brewer and pubco, which owns Belhaven, said like-for-like sales across its Retail managed estate were up 3.7% in the 36 weeks to January 6, 2013, with food sales up 4.1% during the period.
Christmas Day itself saw Greene King achieve “record” sales of £2.7 million, up 6.8% on the previous year. And during the month of December it sold 448,000 Christmas meals, topping sales figures from previous years.
Total sales across Greene King’s Retail business of managed pubs, restaurants and hotels, including Belhaven pubs, were up 9.5% in the 36-week period.
The performance of its Pub Partners leasehold business is said to be improving following a “strong” festive period. Average earnings per pub were up 4.2% in the 36 weeks and its disposal programme is said to be on-track, with 65 “non-core” sites sold in its financial year to date.
Volumes of its own beers, which include Belhaven Best, Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen, were down 2% in the 36-week period, compared to what Greene King said was a 4.2% drop in the UK ale market. Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen were said to have performed ahead of last year.
Chief executive Rooney Anand said although trading conditions remain challenging, the brewer and pubco is confident its strategy “tailored to prevailing conditions will continue to deliver sustainable earnings”.
“Our strong momentum has been maintained over the last six weeks,” he said. “We achieved record sales through Christmas and New Year as our teams once again delivered excellent value, service and quality to our customers.”
Strong festive trading was also reported by managed pub firm JD Wetherspoon.
Like-for-like sales across its 800 UK pubs were up 8% in the 11 weeks to January 13, while total sales climbed 11.3%.
In its pre-close statement, Wetherspoon said it expects a “reasonable outcome” for the current financial year.
“Our sales, profit and cash flow continue to be resilient, in spite of the continuing taxation and regulation burden on the pub industry and the ongoing pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes,” it said.
Meanwhile, positive sales across Spirit Group’s managed pubs offset a drop in turnover in its leased estate.
Like-for-like sales across its managed estate were up 2.3% in the 20 weeks to January 5, driven by a 3.3% increase in food sales; drinks sales climbed a modest 0.2% in the period.
Spirit said trading conditions for its managed pubs, which includes the Chef & Brewer and John Barras brands, were “very challenging” from October to mid-December due to the wet weather but Christmas trading was “strong”, with like-for-like sales up 5%.
However the group recorded a 2.1% drop in like-for-like net turnover in its leased estate in the 20 weeks to January 5, with like-for-like net income down 2.9%.
Chief executive Mike Tye said the group has made a “solid start” to the year in what remain challenging conditions.
“We continue to perform in line with expectations and we are confident we have the right foundations in place to realise the full potential of our business,” he said.

Image – Greene King reported a 4.1% uplift in food sales across its estate of managed pubs.