Scotland in focus for pub company

Punch Taverns has unveiled plans to spend £3 million in its Scottish estate over the next year.
The investment will see several of the company’s properties, including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels, refurbished over the next 12 months.

• Punch recently spent £1 million refurbishing the Portree Hotel on Skye.
• Punch recently spent £1 million refurbishing the Portree Hotel on Skye.

Punch operations director, Brian Davidson, said sites will be chosen “on a case-by-case basis” and include a mixture of existing leases and premises between tenants.
Pubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are said to be a priority for investment, while hotels in Inverness, Dornoch and Galashiels have already been earmarked for projects.
Punch currently has 230 outlets in its Scottish estate, including 25 hotels, and has recently completed refurbishments of two hotel properties in Scotland.
Around £500,000 was spent refurbishing the 16-bedroom Crown Hotel in Stornoway, while a claimed £1m was spent on the 24-bedroom Portree Hotel on the Isle of Skye.
That combined £1.5m sum is separate from the £3m investment announced for this year.
Davidson said the new round of investment is partly to focus on strengthening the company’s hotel estate.
“Being a pub company our core business is obviously pubs, and we maybe hadn’t given quite enough attention to the hotel and hospitality side of the business,” said Davidson.
“But over three hundred of [our properties] across the UK have got letting rooms in them.”
Meanwhile, Davidson confirmed that 40 Scottish outlets have been included in the company’s new Mercury division.
The new section of the business replaces the previous ‘turnaround’ division and is comprised of outlets where the company is putting a particular focus on increasing sales. There are 739 sites across the UK.