Spirit Pubs to be lifted with Games effect less than feared

THE PUB sector is set to receive some rare good news after a disappointing summer when Spirit Pub Company announces preliminary annual results tomorrow.

Analysts expect Spirit – which runs around 800 pubs – to report a four per cent rise in sales to around £761m. Spirit’s performance will be a welcome sign of resilience over the last few months, as sales were expected to be dented by wet weather and the draw of the Olympic Games over the summer.

Spirit is also expected to report a pre-tax profit of £52m, up 18 per cent on last year.

Last month, the company, which demerged from Punch Taverns last year, said it had continued to outperform the market over the summer, reporting a five per cent rise in like-for-like sales, driven mainly by increased food demand in pubs.

Chief executive Mike Tye said that performance had been good despite “tough” conditions.

However, the company’s leased pubs business, which backs individual landlords and is described by Peel Hunt as the firm’s “Achilles Heel”, has continued to struggle, having seen a 4.9 per cent fall in income over the summer.