Enterprise Inns boss sees light at end of tunnel

THE BOSS of Britain’s biggest pub owner has claimed that the firm is set to return to growth after a challenging few years, saying that initiatives to attract punters were paying off.

Ted Tuppen, the chief executive of Enterprise Inns, said that trading since the start of April had improved on the previous six-month period. In the half-year to 31 March, Enterprise Inns saw revenues fall nine per cent to £312m while profit before tax was £55m, from £64m a year previously.

“There was the impact of the snow, and since then we have had the coldest March on record,” Tuppen told City A.M.. “Given that, no one’s surprised with these results. But we have introduced a lot of initiatives, and that’s got [this half-year] off to a good start.

“The last four years have been very tough and much of what we were doing is helping publicans survive. We’ve now largely completed that and are moving onto the front foot.”

Enterprise Inns, which rents out its 5,720 pubs rather than managing them itself, said it had made a number of moves to entice customers.

This included new deals to provide Wi-Fi in pubs and an agreement to make it cheaper for pubs to serve better food. Most significant, however, may be a new deal with Sky, which will provide channels at a 30 per cent discount. Sky has seen its dominance of sports TV challenged by BT, which has pledged to undercut the prices Sky offers in pubs. “We are obviously talking to BT, the market needed some competition,” Tuppen said.