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Thu 21st Nov 2013 - Breaking News - Young’s report like-for-likes up 6% in first half
Young’s report like-for-likes up 6% in first half: London pub operator Young’s has reported sales up 8% with 6% like-for-likes in the 26 weeks ended 30 September - like-for-likes have grown 4.6% in the first seven weeks of the company’s second half. Managed house revenue was up 9% to £102.3 million. Pre-tax profit was £14,896,000 compared to £13,559,000 in the same period last year. Net debt increased slightly to £113.5 million, owing to investment in estate and four freehold acquisitions, but continued to fall as multiple of EBITDA (2.6 times). Stephen Goodyear, chief executive of Young’s, said: “This has been an excellent six months for Young’s, especially when set against the strong comparators of last year when London was reveling in the Golden Jubilee and Olympics. Our well-located premium pubs, many with riverside locations or attractive gardens, have allowed us to make the most of the warm summer. We have also benefited from the improvement in consumer sentiment in London and the south of England, where we are focused. What the past five years have shown however, is that we are capable of generating profitable growth come rain or shine, and even in a very tough economic climate. Trading in the early part of the second half has been good, and we will continue to invest in both our Young’s and Geronimo estates - and in both pubs and hotels. Overall, we feel positive about the year as a whole.” Food sales growth continued to outperform drink, with total food sales up 11.9% and 7.8% on a like-for-like basis. The company added: “Our premium, fresh, seasonal British food offer is the cornerstone of this success. Food sales in turn combined with the extensive wine knowledge of our highly trained staff has also helped drive a 9.2% increase in our wine sales. Food accounted for 29.4% of total revenue in the period (2012: 28.7%). We invested £10.4 million on our managed house estate – £7.9 million on Young’s pubs, £1.1 million on Young’s hotels, and £1.4 million on Geronimo pubs. The major beneficiaries in the period were The Adam and Eve (Fitzrovia), Duke of Wellington (Notting Hill), Flask (Hampstead), Hand and Spear (Weybridge), Horts (Bristol), Lord Palmerston (Tufnell Park), Queen Adelaide (Wandsworth) and The White Hart (Barnes). Last year’s new additions are proving to be excellent investments, none more so than The Wheatsheaf and The Cutty Sark (Greenwich). Located in the vibrant Borough Market, The Wheatsheaf, with its fashionable offer and traditional touch, has been a runaway success from the outset. The Cutty Sark was launched as a Young’s pub in November 2012, and its Willis Dining room offers breathtaking views of the Canary Wharf skyline and Thames whilst you enjoy your Salcombe scallops, Brixham crab or Young’s Ale battered fish and chips.”

Miller Brands volumes up 5%; to expand tank beer distribution: Miller Brands UK (MBUK), has grown domestic lager volume sales by 5% in the six months to 30 September 2013. This growth was supported by the Pilsner Urquell brand, which performed strongly during the period, growing by 17%, helped by rapidly accelerating sales of its unpasteurised tank beer following a trial launched in the summer. The continued strength of the Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand in the UK also contributed to the performance and the business achieved “record sales during the hot summer month of July”. The business outperformed the UK beer market, which was flat in volume terms over the half year. The company stated: “Following a highly successful trial period the company will be expanding the distribution of Pilsner Urquell tank beer in the UK. The pilot scheme, which started in June this year at The White Horse in Parson’s Green, was the first time that unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell was made available to the UK market via a permanent on-premise installation. It is also the first and only international beer to be offered to the UK market in this format, which allows consumers to enjoy the unique taste of Pilsner Urquell at its very best. Since then, the beer has remained in high demand with sales of Pilsner Urquell tripling after the introduction of this innovation. Delivered within 24 hours by a special tanker directly from the brewery in Pilsen to the UK, the beer is pumped into specially crafted copper tanks from the Czech Republic which are installed and on display in the pub. Each tank contains 880 pints and they are refilled with fresh Pilsner Urquell every week. The tanks ensure that the beer is kept at the right temperature and in perfect condition until the time it is poured into the glass, ensuring the very best taste, quality and a fuller, rounder malt body. This is the authentic way the beer is enjoyed by beer lovers across the Czech Republic and following its popularity in the UK, MBUK will install further Pilsner Urquell tanks in key London locations during the second half of fiscal year 2014.” Gary Haigh, managing director, Miller Brands UK, said: “The British beer drinker is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan which makes this an ideal market in which to introduce international beers served in the authentic way. The early success of unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell in the UK underpins our belief that consumers are looking for authenticity and differentiation in the beers they drink. By partnering with pubs and other on-premise outlets, brewers have a central role to play in reinvigorating pub culture in the UK and getting consumers passionate about beer again. The expansion of Pilsner Urquell tank beer in the UK marks a real innovation in the consumer experience and enjoyment of beer in this country.”

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