Pub chain Fuller, Smith and Turner said an increased range of non-alcoholic drinks protected it from the usual January slump in sales, despite an uptick in the number of people going tee-total for the month.
Fuller’s today announced that like-for-like sales in managed pubs and hotels were up 4.3 per cent in the six weeks encompassing Christmas and New Year.
In the 42 weeks to 18 January, sales grew 2.5 per cent. However, tenanted like-for-like profits were down three per cent in the period.
Chief executive Simon Emeny told City A.M: “We have traded really well in January. We have seen more people do Dry January, and we have still seen people still come out.
“The range of non-and-low alcoholic choices in our pubs are really good. In the past January was a nightmare.”
Meanwhile, the Fuller’s is looking forward to a surge in sales as the Six Nations rugby tournament kicks off on Saturday.
Emeny said the west London-based firm is “absolutely” expecting an uptick in sales as rugby fans flock to the chain’s venues, many of which are located near Twickenham Stadium.
He said: “It’s so exciting, it feels like the beginning of Spring, with the end of January and the Six Nations.”
“We own the most famous rugby pub in the world”, he added, referring to The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham.
Fuller’s will open three new pubs in the coming months at Royal Dock, Wembley Park and Liverpool Street Station.
Meanwhile, it is on track with the integration of the Cotswolds Inns & Hotels business it bought last year, as it focuses on its pubs and hotels business following the sale of its brewery arm to Asahi.