Spirit’s shares drop on lack of royal wedding

SHARES in Spirit Pub Company lost almost six per cent yesterday despite the firm reporting like-for-like sales growth in its third quarter.

The pub group said it was up against “tough prior year comparatives” when drink sales were boosted by the warm weather and royal wedding weekend.

But Spirit said it continues to “significantly outperform the market” and posted a 3.7 per cent like-for-like sales growth for the 12 weeks to 26 May.

Drink sales were up 1.1 per cent, while like-for-like food sales jumped by 6.8 per cent in the period, which “reflects the ongoing evolution of our offer across our managed brands,” the company said.

Spirit’s food brands include Chef & Brewer, Taylor Walker, Fayre & Square and Flaming Grill.

The London-listed group invested in 21 pubs in the period, bringing its total investment for the three quarters of the financial year so far to 177 sites. Spirit said it would employ a different strategy in this year’s final quarter, concentrating on boosting the profitability of its pubs.

Chief executive Mike Tye said: “Our focus now is on maximising sales in our managed pubs during what promises to be a busy summer and stabilising performance in our leased estate.”

Income from Spirit’s leased pubs sector dropped eight per cent in the quarter. The company said it has already disposed of 27 out of a designated 100 underperforming pubs that it intends to sell off.