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Fri 22nd Nov 2013 - Breaking News - Fuller’s reports “industry-leading” 7.9% LfLs
Fuller’s reports “industry-leading” 7.9% LfLs: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has reported “industry-leading like-for-like sales growth of 7.9%” led by strong food growth of 11.8% in the 28 weeks to 28 September. Managed pubs and hotels profits up 16%. Tenanted pubs profits were level with like-for-like profits up 1%. Total beer and cider volumes were down 1%. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “I am pleased to report a strong first half for the Group with adjusted profit before tax growing 8% to £18.1 million and our adjusted earnings per share increasing 9% to 24.79p. Our results have been driven by another excellent performance from managed pubs and hotels, with industry leading like for like sales growth of 7.9% and profits up 16%, clearly demonstrating the ongoing appeal of our freshly prepared food offer. The second half has started well and the underlying momentum which characterised our trading in the first half has continued over the last seven weeks, with managed pubs and hotels like-for-like sales up 7.8% over the 33 weeks. Our London and South East based portfolio of well-invested quality pubs, a strong balance sheet and consistent long term strategy leave us well placed for the future as we continue to invest in our people, our pubs and our brands. We remain confident of another year of progress for the Group.” Sales grew 6% to £146.3m. Emeny added: “Food is increasingly important to our business and the 11.8% like for like food sales growth during the period demonstrates the appeal of our freshly prepared pub food, with its focus on seasonal produce and local provenance. Our strategy remains to target acquisition and development opportunities in high footfall transport hubs, affluent market towns and iconic London pubs; to create a distinctive customer experience in our pubs and hotels; and to innovate and invest in order to broaden our portfolio of high quality craft beer, ale and cider brands. We continue to identify, acquire and develop pubs, which will further enhance our quality pub portfolio. During the first half of the year we acquired The White Hart, Southwark, which is situated in a superb location near the south bank of the Thames. We have also developed two completely new pubs with excellent potential: Cams Mill, Fareham opened on 18 November and London’s Pride at Heathrow Terminal 2, will open with the launch of the brand new terminal in June 2014. Good progress has also been made on the Fuller’s Beer Company strategic initiatives outlined when we reported on our full year results. Following the successful trial of Frontier, our new wave craft lager, this is now being introduced into a further 60 locations. The creative Made of London advertising campaign has been well received and a second phase, which continues to build on London Pride’s unique history and London provenance commenced in late September. I am delighted that Cornish Orchards has been successfully integrated and is trading well in the five months since our acquisition. As expected, demand has outstripped supply throughout the summer and in order to address this we have recently added new tanks to increase cider capacity by 60% in time for this year’s apple harvest. During the period, we took the opportunity to invest in a number of pubs within our existing estate and carried out some innovative and exciting schemes, including The Hereford Arms, Gloucester Road, which has been stylishly redesigned to appeal to a wider market. Similarly The Vintry, a popular food-led pub in the heart of the City of London has benefitted from an elegant refurbishment including the addition of a striking cocktail bar to complement its high quality food and drink offer. The Tap on the Line, Kew is the only pub situated on an open air London underground station platform and has recently been transformed with a Kew Gardens inspired design and we now serve breakfast and coffee to commuters from 8am. A continued focus of the period has been on enhancing outdoor areas and gardens for our customers. The White Horse, Richmond has undergone a transformation of the large terrace and garden, providing a leafy and refreshing haven for al fresco drinks and dining, featuring an “edible” garden with flourishing fruits and herbs. We continue to seek out opportunities to add carefully selected new pubs to our portfolio. During the period we purchased The White Hart, Southwark for our Tenanted division for £2.6 million and since the period end we have also acquired The Distillers, Hammersmith for our Managed estate for £3.4 million on 18 November. This has been another active period for investment in our estate with the completion of 12 significant investments and commencing the construction of two new pubs, incurring a total capital spend of £5.1 million during the first half of the year and a repairs spend that was £0.6 million higher than the previous period. We have an exciting pipeline of developments for the second half of the year. This month we completed our £1.7 million investment in London’s Pride, the only airside pub in the new Heathrow Terminal 2. This 5,500 square foot pub in a prime high footfall location, will open in June 2014. We have also concluded the £3.4 million development of Cams Mill, a striking freehold site overlooking the estuary in Fareham, Hampshire. Considerable thought and investment have been applied to make this pub sustainable and energy efficient, with smart ventilation, heat recovery and LED lighting. Looking further ahead, in the New Year we will embark upon the final stages of a fantastic riverside pub, One Over the Ait, which is currently under construction within a new development by Kew Bridge. We have plans to add four function rooms at The Parcel Yard, King’s Cross which already boasts both the highest takings and sales of cask ale throughout the entire Fuller’s estate. The White Buck, Burley will benefit from a transformational £1.8 million investment over the coming months with the development of eight new bedrooms and the refurbishment of the existing eight rooms, all to our luxurious boutique design. Situated in the heart of the New Forest, this investment will enable us to host additional functions, such as weddings and conferences. We are also doubling the number of rooms at The Pilot, Greenwich from five to ten bedrooms, in response to the high demand for accommodation and functions stemming from the pub’s close proximity to the O2 arena.”
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