Historic pub group Shepherd Neame, owner of City favourites such as the Old Doctor Butler's Head, reported a jump in like-for-like annual sales growth today, as the 300-year-old company executes a modernisation plan.
Like-for-like sales grew 8.1 per cent, ahead of the market, while turnover was up 11.7 per cent to £156.2m.
Underlying profit before tax rose eight per cent to £11.2m, but statutory pre-tax profit was down due to property disposals, sitting at £11.8m.
Shareholders are set for an increased dividend of 22.7p.
Why it's interesting
In an interview with City A.M., chief executive Jonathan Neame said that the pub industry has been forced to "modernise or die" over the last decade due to the smoking ban.
Investment in updating sites and the branding of the Shepherd Neame business has helped push up performance this year. The group has also put money into "premiumisation", following the consumer trend for higher quality drinks.
A shift towards brewing more own-brand beer also paid off, as the brewery planned for the loss of the contract to make Asahi Super Dry in February next year.
What Shepherd Neame said
Jonathan Neame told City A.M. this morning that the results marked a particularly good year for the business.
"It is genuinely an outperformance of the market but it's also a good year strategically, we've moved the quality of our portfolio and our brand on."