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Tue 5th May 2015 - Greene King reports managed LfLs up 0.4%
Greene King reports managed LfLs up 0.4%: Greene King has reported managed like-for-likes up 0.4% for the 51 weeks to 26 April 2015. It stated that managed like-for-like sales were up 0.8% without the impact of Scottish drink-driving regulations. Easter like-for-like sales were up 2.4% and there were record Valentine’s Day sales of £4m. Like-for-like sales within its Metropolitan division in London are ‘comfortably outperforming the sector within M25’. Its tenanted Pub Partners division’s like-for-like net income was up 3.6%. Brewing and Brands own-brewed volume was up 4.1%. The Competition & Markets Authority decision on its Spirit acquisition is due on 11 May. Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We once again traded well over key events, such as Valentine’s Day and Easter, as customers celebrated and enjoyed these occasions in our pubs. The second half of this financial year, however, has been tougher than the first half, with more difficult comparatives to last year and the additional impact of new drink driving legislation in Scotland. Looking ahead, we are moving closer to the acquisition of Spirit and, in particular, to next week’s decision by the Competition and Markets Authority. The scheme of arrangement is expected to become effective during the first half of 2015, which will enable us to commence the integration process. The acquisition of Spirit will create the UK’s leading managed pub operator, accelerate our retail expansion strategy and deliver significant synergy opportunities and scale benefits for both sets of shareholders.” The company added: “Greene King Retail total sales growth after 51 weeks was 6.3%, with like-for-like sales growth of 0.4%. Like-for-like sales since week 36 were in line with last year although two-year like-for-like sales were up 4.9%, a 50 basis points (bps) improvement on the first 36 weeks of the year. Excluding the impact of the new drink driving legislation in Scotland, year-to-date like-for-like sales were up 0.8% and up 0.7% since week 36.As anticipated at the interims, we saw a moderation in the decline in Retail margins over the second half of the year and anticipate these to be down 40 bps for the year with the dilutive effect of lower sales growth, investment in labour and the in-year effect of new openings being partly offset by cost savings and a more benign inflation environment. Although Easter was much earlier than last year, we achieved record sales and like-for-like sales were up 2.4%. In total, we served over 800,000 diners during the weekend. We also achieved record sales of £4m on Valentine’s Day with Prosecco volume up over 150% on last year and 3,600 oysters sold in Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill. The strongest performing brands or formats in the year were Metropolitan, our premium local format, which strongly outperformed the London market, Farmhouse Inns, our growing carvery brand, and Old English Inns, which delivered strong like-for-like room sales growth. Our investment in continually improving customer service has helped to grow our net promoter scores (customer advocacy) across Greene King Retail this year and we have recently won two important food awards, with Flame Grill winning at the National Fish & Chips awards and Premium Locals winning Restaurant magazine’s pub menu of the year. In addition, we are seeking further improvement in our customer service by investing the latest 1p cut in beer duty in additional labour across our retail pub estate. After 48 weeks, like-for-like net income at Pub Partners was up 3.6%, exhibiting an improving trend through the year as the operational benefits from the disposal of 275 non-core sites to Hawthorn Leisure began to come through. All the key licensee health measures remained strong including average licensee turnover, which has reached five years and seven months. Brewing & Brands own-brewed volume was up 4.1% after 51 weeks. Growth came from all major channels including take home, export and the free trade in England. In terms of brands, Old Speckled Hen, the UK’s leading premium ale brand, achieved volume growth of over 15%.”

Just Eat – orders up 51% in the First Quarter: Just Eat, the leading online market place for takeaway food delivery, has reported total orders up 51% throughout the First Quarter of 2015.The company stated: “This figure includes orders from our French business ( consolidated from July 2014 and from the Mexican business, acquired in February 2015, and excludes any Brazilian orders from November 2014 onwards when the business became an associate. On a like-for-like basis (i.e. excluding orders in both periods for countries where there has been a change in the basis of consolidation) orders were up 47%. This continued growth supports our strategy of ongoing investment including; expanding our technology team at our new site in Bristol to drive innovation; increasing investment in Latin America through our Brazilian joint venture and the recently acquired Sindelantal Mexico; significantly expanding our brand marketing campaigns in earlier stage markets such as Spain; continuing to drive consumer awareness through multi-channel marketing in the UK; and progressing the B2B initiatives previously announced – including various in-restaurant technology trials. As previously reported, during the First Quarter we acquired the leading Mexican takeaway business, secured full ownership of our Swiss business, and increased our stake in our Brazilian joint venture by 5% to 30%.” David Buttress, chief executive, said: “I am delighted with the company’s performance over the First Quarter. The team has worked very hard in all our markets to achieve these results. I am also pleased to see the continued shift of consumers to the ease and convenience of ordering food through Just Eat’s apps and websites.”

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