Further growth for Greene King

PUBS and brewing group Greene King has reported continued growth in sales despite the impact of freezing weather over Christmas and the New Year.

SUFFOLK: Pubs and brewing group Greene King has reported continued growth in sales despite the impact of freezing weather over Christmas and the New Year.

And the Bury St Edmunds-based company also revealed that it had acquired another eight pubs in a �15.9 million deal with Punch Taverns.

In an interim statement covering the 38 weeks to January 24, Greene King said that trading across its businesses over the last nine weeks had remained “relatively strong” despite the negative impact from the recent poor weather.

Like-for-like retail sales were up 4.3 per cent over the 38-week period and, up to the end of week 35, like-for-like sales were 5.0 per cent up, slightly ahead of previously reported trends.


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“We again delivered very strong growth in the two weeks over the Christmas period, despite the tough comparisons with last year,” said chief executive Rooney Anand.

However, he cautioned that like-for-like sales growth was expected to moderate through the rest of the financial year, due to further tough comparative figures and the increase in VAT from January 1, but second half margins were expected to be “broadly in line” with the corresponding period last year.

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Within the group's leased and tenanted estate, the improving profit trend continued, with average earnings per pub down just 0.8 per cent so far during the second half against minus 4.9 per cent for the year so far. New applications from would-be licensees were also up 20 per cent in December.

At the group's brewing business, based in Bury, own-brewed volumes were 7.2 per cent up after 38 weeks, a performance described as “especially strong” in view of the poor weather. But Greene King said the growth in volume was expected to moderate during the second half, given an “extremely sstrong” performance in the closing months of last year.

The acquisition of eight more pubs from Punch is being funded out of the rights issue of new shares completed by Greene King last year.

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