BREWER and pub group Greene King yesterday reported a 3.8 per cent jump in its like-for-like sales during the first 36 weeks of its financial year, boosted by bumper food sales on Christmas Day.
The results were helped by the two trading weeks covering Christmas and the New Year, during which Greene King reported sales up over six per cent, and sales on Christmas Day of £3.1m, up over 12 per cent on 2012.
“We’ve been getting more and more prepared for Christmas and treating it as a very big selling opportunity for our business over the last few years and I think some of our efforts in terms of pre-planning and also pre-marketing Christmas ... has paid off,” chief executive Rooney Anand told City A.M. yesterday.
The firm, which operates the Hungry Horse, Old English Inns, Eating Inn and Loch Fyne restaurants, said like-for-like retail sales were up five per cent in the last six weeks, driven by a 5.8 per cent rise in food sales.
“Our teams have excelled this festive period, particularly in terms of delivering great customer experiences, and this has helped us deliver record-breaking achievements,” added Anand.
Anand said the company is on track with its strategy to increase the number of retail pubs it owns to 1,100 by 2015 while reducing its number of pubs it does not directly manage, of which it has disposed of 81 during the year to date.
“What’s really been heartening… is that we’re not doing it at the expense of margins. We are guiding investors towards assuming that margins are in line or are slightly ahead of last year,” said Anand.
Greene King’s share price rose 3.2 per cent yesterday.