Enterprise sales hit by snow

 
City A.M. Reporter
ENTERPRISE Inns said snow kept drinkers at home in December wiping up to £2m off its first-quarter profit.

The group, which has around 6,800 pubs across Britain, said a cold snap of snow and ice leading up to Christmas caused a loss of earnings for many of its pub landlords.

Net income at pubs where tenants are on long-term contracts with Enterprise Inns, which represent around 90 per cent of the estate, fell two per cent on average, in the 16 weeks to 15 January.

Chief executive Ted Tuppen said customers had cancelled parties over the festive period and drinkers left earlier to tackle treacherous journeys home, hitting trade.

That was partially offset by an upturn in trade in some rural areas where snowed-in customers who could not get to work were able to make the shorter trip to their local instead.

“It very much depended on the type of pub, where it was, and how bad the weather was.

“If people were trapped in their villages they would walk to the pub for a pint rather than doing nothing at all. But there were a lot of cancellations,” he said.

Tuppen added that trading had picked up since the thaw and he remained confident average net income per pub would improve during the rest of the year.

It has sold off another 105 unwanted pubs and in the full-year it expects to sell between 400 and 500 sites, to generate proceeds of around £125m.

Nigel Parson, an analyst at Evolution Securities, said: “Trading was reasonably good given the poor weather and Enterprise is continuing to sell assets at sensible prices.”