Saturday 20 January 2018

In brief: Slow sales won't dilute pub plan

Food and drink


BRITISH pub chain JD Wetherspoon – which plans to open its first pub in Ireland this year – said it is still on course for its full-year profit goal despite slowing sales in April.

Revenue for the 13 weeks to April 27 at pubs open over a year rose 6.2pc, but April had been below par.

"As a result of the slowdown in sales growth in recent weeks and our strong performance in the final quarter of last year, combined with the slightly unpredictable impact of the World Cup, the company retains an element of caution about the exact outcome for the final quarter," Wetherspoon said.

Total sales rose 10.9pc in its third quarter but operating margins slipped to 8pc from 8.2pc in the first half, reflecting investment in IT, staff and training.

The chain has over 900 pubs and is opening 45 new pubs this financial year and another 30 to 40 next year.



THE eurozone's permanent crisis resolution mechanism sold bonds in the public market yesterday against a brighter backdrop for European peripheral sovereigns.

The European Stability Mechanism opened books on a €3bn no-grow October 2019 benchmark bond yesterday morning, with the deal set to price at 3bp below mid-swaps, the tight end of guidance.

"The ESM has been outperforming its peers; if you compare it to the EIB, it trades well through it," said a banker away from the deal, adding that the rarity value of ESM's bonds drove demand for its debt.

The ESM finances loans and other forms of financial assistance to member states.

Since the ESM's inception, Ireland has successfully left the bailout programme and peripheral yields have ground to their tightest levels in years.


LEADING food and support services company Compass Group Ireland has signed a two-year contract with Irish fine food specialists, La Rousse Foods.

The new contract will see the Dublin-based firm supply products – including artisan Irish and French cheeses, breads, handmade chocolates and speciality game – to the group's fine dining and hospitality offering within its 250 units.

The contract is valued at €3.4m over the next two years. Founded by Mary Massy & Marc Amand in 1992, La Rousse Foods employs 107 people and supplies speciality products to 1,300 customers in Ireland.

"The appointment of La Rousse Foods further reinforces our commitment to working with high-quality Irish suppliers," said Compass Group's Mark Lee.

Other suppliers include Hodgins Foods, Johnston Mooney & O'Brien and Atlantis Seafoods.



FIVE grants totalling €125,000 are up for grabs for new sport and physical activity initiatives under the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.

Voluntary and non-profit organisations that want to kick-start new programmes to encourage people to become more active could win €25,000 to get them up and running.

"This is a great initiative which aims to get people moving and help non-profit groups to stage physical activities," said Sports Minister Leo Varadakar.

"This year, five organisations will each receive €25,000 for their projects, and I encourage other groups to think about how they can promote active living through this fund."

Applications are accepted at until June 16th.




PRE-TAX profits at a Nenagh- based co-op soared 350pc to €1.8m last year.

Arrabawn Co-operative chief executive Conor Ryan said the results showed strong growth in sales in its dairy and agri-trading divisions. Turnover reached a record €220.5m.

"This increase represents a growth of 19pc on the previous year and is the first time that the co-op sales exceeded the €200m mark," he said.

The co-op has 940 milk suppliers across Tipperary and Galway, and parts of Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon, Limerick, Clare, and Laois.

Mr Ryan said that sales growth of 25pc to €149.5m on on the dairy side of the business, which equated to an increase of €29.66m, was driven by both higher returns from the marketplace and increased milk throughput. The price paid to milk suppliers was the highest ever paid by the co-op and was 7.38 cent per litre above the previous year, the co-op added.

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