Greene King has cited the miserable British weather as part reason for its financial performance for the 49 weeks to 8 April 2018.
Like-for-like sales for the period were -1.8%, with the weather over the last 12 weeks impacting trading, particularly in its destination food-led pubs. On an underlying basis, excluding the impact of snow, like-for-like sales in the year-to-date were -1.2%. Both drink and accommodation like-for-like sales were ahead of last year.
Trading over Easter was strong with sales up 2.8% against the Easter weekend last year, helped by strong sporting fixtures, especially football and boxing.
“The targeted £10m investment we made in the second half of the year to strengthen our value for money, customer service and quality is starting to positively impact on trading, despite the continued challenging market backdrop,” the company writes in its financial statement. “We continue to reposition Pub Company to drive growth going forward; we will complete the exit from Fayre & Square by the financial year end; we opened nine new pubs over the year; and we invested core and brand conversion capex in 292 pubs.”
After 48 weeks, like-for-like net profit in Pub Partners was -0.3%, while own-brewed volumes in Brewing & Brands were -0.7%, ahead of the UK ale market at -3.1%.
“We remain on track to deliver targeted cost savings of £40-45m,” the statement continues. “We will have spent c. £160m in the full year in ensuring our estate remains well invested and our disposal proceeds are likely to be ahead of expectations at c. £120m following the sale of three high value leasehold pubs. As a result, we expect full year profit before tax and exceptionals to be in the range of £240-245m.
“With our high quality portfolio of pubs, excellent team, strong balance sheet and sustainable dividend, we remain well placed to withstand the external market challenges and deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”