Bumper Easter weekend raises spirits at Greene King’s pubs

GREENE King saw record trading over Easter, which propped up slow sales caused by a cold snap during the first quarter of the year.

The pub company said that like-for-like sales over the four-day Easter weekend had risen by 7.1 per cent on last year.

The period was one of the highlights of the 51 weeks to April, which saw a 2.2 per cent rise in like-for-like sales at Greene King Retail, the division that comprises the pubs, restaurants and hotels that the firm runs itself.

Greene King Retail makes up around 1,000 pubs of the firm’s 2,300-strong estate, with the rest made up of leased, tenanted and franchised establishments, which are referred to as Pub Partners.

Greene King has managed to defy a downturn in the wider pub industry in recent years, due to its south east bias and focus on improving food sales. This means that events such as Easter, Christmas and Mother’s Day are hugely important events on the calendar, and that the effects of March’s snow – which drove drinkers away – were not as keenly felt as they might have been.

“Although trading conditions were more demanding in the second half of our financial year, our business has once again demonstrated its resilience,” Greene King’s chief executive Rooney Anand said. He added that during the last year, he has opened 33 new Retail sites, and reduced the Pub Partners estate by 108.