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Greene King pins hopes on summer of World Cup football as full-year earnings and profits dip

PUBLISHED: 16:26 28 June 2018

England manager Gareth Southgate is the first national boss since Sir Bobby Robson to lead the country to the last four of a World Cup. Picture: PA SPORT

England manager Gareth Southgate is the first national boss since Sir Bobby Robson to lead the country to the last four of a World Cup. Picture: PA SPORT

PA Wire

Pub chain Greene King hopes sunshine and World Cup fever will bring out the punters

Bury St Edmunds Greene King flag. Picture: GREGG BROWNBury St Edmunds Greene King flag. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Pub chain Greene King is hoping that England’s World Cup glory will boost trade, after full-year results showed a drop in profits.

Pre-tax profits in the year to April 29, 2018 fell 11.2% to £243m, while turnover dipped 1.8% to £2.176bn.

The Bury St Edmunds-based brewery’s division struggled, as like-for-like sales fell 1.2%, excluding the impact of snow in March, down to £1.8bn.

But the company said its like-for-like sales were up 2.2% over the last eight weeks, aided by balmy weather and strong World Cup trading, with 59% of consumers expecting to watch an England game at the pub.

Rooney Anand of Greene King. Picture: Greene KingRooney Anand of Greene King. Picture: Greene King

Revenue from brewing brands rose 7.4% to £215.1m, in line with the company’s expectations.

Greene King will be relying on its pub brands after it appointed advisers last week to sell off seafood restaurant chain Loch Fyne.

Several branches of the restaurant chain have quietly closed their doors in the past few months, and there are now fewer than 30 left, including one in Norwich and one in Chelmsford.

Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We made good progress improving the performance of the business during the second half of the year, despite a challenging trading environment. Our investment to improve the customer experience in our pubs and the focus on our strategic priorities are beginning to pay off. Positive momentum, both in terms of trading and customer satisfaction, is returning to our business.

“While it is still early days, this positive momentum has continued into the new financial year, aided by good weather and popular sporting events.

“We expect the trading environment to remain challenging for some time, but we strongly believe people will continue to choose the great British pub as the place to enjoy time with friends and family.”

England’s record-breaking 6-1 victory over Panama helped Greene King sell an extra 500,000 pints of beer in one day, and sales in some of its pubs were close to twice as high as last year.

Greene King employs 5,143 of its 39,000 workforce in East Anglia.

During the last year, Greene King has invested £5.7m in 29 of its pubs in East Anglia, including £408,000 in Bury St Edmunds. In all, the company has almost 500 pubs in the region, 283 of which are pub partners.

The company also said its apprenticeship programme, which has 208 people in East Anglia, had gone “from strength to strength”.

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