Spirit Pub Company planning to start buying more pubs this year

Oliver Smith
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SPIRIT Pub Company, the firm behind brands such as Chef & Brewer, Flaming Grill and Fayre & Square, yesterday reported a seven per cent rise in sales during the 20 weeks to 4 January due to strong trading over the Christmas period.

The firm said it is continuing with work to grow its own managed estate with acquisitions of new pubs planned for the second half of 2014.

“Our focus remains on the execution of our well defined strategy which has seen our managed pubs consistently perform ahead of the market and enabled our leased estate to return to like-for-like growth during the period,” said chief executive Mike Tye, who described Christmas as a particularly buoyant period for the business.

Spirit Pub, which makes most of its revenue from managed pubs, said like-for-like net sales from the unit were up 4.3 per cent.

The pub chain’s leased pubs saw net turnover rise 2.2 per cent during the period.

“The group has enjoyed a strong start to the year and with increased financial flexibility, we expect earnings momentum to build over the medium-term.

“We are raising our target price to reflect the potential to surprise on the upside and the general sector rerating,” said Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram who changed the broker’s target price from 85p to 95p.

Spirit Pub’s share price was down slightly yesterday, falling just 0.3 per cent to close at 84.5p a share.