Sunday 17 June 2018

Snow knocks trade at Hungry Horse owner Greene King

The Suffolk-based firm said managed pub like-for-like sales rose 1.6% over the two weeks covering Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Greene King notched up record sales on Christmas Day but said trading has been hurt by snow disruption
Greene King notched up record sales on Christmas Day but said trading has been hurt by snow disruption

By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor

Pub group Greene King has said it notched up another sales record on Christmas Day, but revealed a hit to trading from snow disruption.

The Suffolk-based firm said managed pub like-for-like sales rose 1.6% over the two weeks covering Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which would have been a 3.4% rise with the snow impact stripped out.

It hailed record-breaking trade on Christmas Day, with sales of £7.6 million, up 2.6% on last year with 154,000 meals sold.

But Greene King – which owns the Hungry Horse and Chef & Brewer brands – said sales either side of the festive season were slower, “reflecting the tough underlying trading environment and additional snow impact”.

Like-for-like sales fell 1.4% across its managed pubs in the first 37 weeks of its financial year, with food sales acting as the biggest drag.

Its leased pub chain posted a 0.2% rise in net profits over the period, while its brewing arm – behind tipples such as Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale – saw sales by volume fall 0.9%.

Greene King said: “Our additional investment to enhance the customer experience, including being more competitive on price, having more team members available at key trading times and strengthening local marketing activity, will help to improve our competitiveness and relative trading performance.”

Its update follows figures from rival JD Wetherspoon on Wednesday, when the group warned that, while profits were ahead of expectations, “significant costs” would weigh on its performance over the remainder of the year.

Anna Barnfather, analyst at Liberum, said Greene King had “traded reasonably well over the main two Christmas weeks, given the circumstances”.

“Like many of its broader peers the weather impacted trading particularly in the out-of-town/drive-to sites,” she added.

Press Association

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