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Fri 10th Jun 2016 - Update: Fuller’s, Giraffe and JD Wetherspoon
Fuller’s reports adjusted profit up 12% to £40.9m: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has reported turnover rose 9% to £350.5m in the year to 26 March. Adjusted profit before tax was up 12% to £40.9m, with 4.8% like-for-like sales growth in its managed division and like-for-like profits up 2% in its tenanted and leased division. The year saw the acquisition of five new pubs, the opening of a new-build pub in Greenwich Reach and six new sites for its Stable cider and pizza brand. The first ten weeks of its current financial year has seen like-for-like sales growth in its managed division at 2.7%, like-for-like profits down 2% in tenanted and leased and total beer and cider volumes down 5%. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “It has been another outstanding year for the company and I am delighted to be reporting an excellent set of results, particularly in the largest part of our business – our Managed Pubs and Hotels. We are seeing the rewards of our continued investment programme and the emphasis we have placed on recruiting, developing, rewarding and promoting the best people. We do this to ensure that across the business we are giving industry-leading service. Our long-term approach is underpinned by a consistent strategy, but we continue to seek new, exciting opportunities to build our business further – keeping the Brewery as our beating heart. We have purchased pubs in geographical areas where we have previously lacked a presence, introduced new premium brands that the consumers of today and tomorrow are seeking out and continued to develop our pub designs and the quality and creativity of our menus. Our business is in excellent shape and it has been a solid start to the year. Like for like sales in our Managed Pubs and Hotels for the first ten weeks of the new financial year are up by 2.7% against strong comparatives from last year. Over the same period, like for like profits in our Tenanted Inns are down by 2% and beer and cider volumes have decreased by 5%. The economy is difficult to read with the European referendum imminent, but while it is important to be aware of the external environment, we will continue with the exciting plans we have in place and our long-term perspective gives us the flexibility to react accordingly. We will further invest in training our people and we will also be investing a record amount in refurbishing our existing estate, putting more focus on our delicious fresh food and continuing to attract new customers to our pubs. We have already completed seven major schemes in this current financial year including The Harpenden Arms in Harpenden, The Drayton Court in Ealing and The Ox Row in Salisbury, and four more are underway as of today with many others soon to follow. In addition, since the year end, we have purchased an additional 25% of The Stable, taking our stake to 76%. As we look forward to the year ahead, we know that our long-term strategy, combined with the vision to address the needs of our customers and consumers of the future, will keep Fuller’s on the path of growth. By continuing to invest in our assets, our brands and, most importantly, our employees, we will continue to build a Fuller’s that delivers outstanding service to our customers, excellent careers for our people and good returns for our shareholders.”

Tesco confirms sale of Kipa and Giraffe: Tesco has confirmed the proposed sale of its 95.5% controlling stake in the Kipa business in Turkey to Migros and Giraffe to Boparan Restaurant Holdings, owner of Harry Ramsden’s. It is thought Giraffe has been sold for circa £24m, half of the circa £50m that Tesco paid to buy the brand. The Turkey disposal, which is subject to usual local regulatory approvals, will result in estimated cash proceeds of around £30m, contributing to a reduction of around £110m in total indebtedness. The sale of Giraffe includes 54 standalone restaurants, of which 12 are franchise sites, and 3 restaurants within Tesco stores. Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive, said: “As we stabilise the business in the UK, we continue to focus on where we can best serve the needs of our customers, while ensuring our business remains sustainable for the long-term. Giraffe is a much loved brand, and while casual dining remains an important part of the shopping trip for many of our customers, we will continue to meet these needs through our Tesco Cafés and other providers. I’d like to thank colleagues from Giraffe for all their hard work in serving our customers and we look forward to seeing it develop in the future.” Giraffe has reported turnover rose to £55,021,630 in the year to 1 March 2015, up from £44,486,245 the year before. However, losses for the period were £3,943,363, compared to a loss of £398,827 the year before. In a Companies House filing, it stated: “The results are mainly influenced by site assets impairment – the impairment for the period is £2.3m (2014: £1.7m).” The impairment charge was reduced from £3,089,825 after trading improved at three sites allowing the release of a previous year impairment of £796,000. Giraffe’s managing director Tom Crowley said: “We are very excited about the acquisition of our business by Boparan Restaurants Holdings. This now provides us with the opportunity to really focus on developing the giraffe business to its full potential throughout the UK and overseas.” Ranjit Singh Boparan, chief executive of BRH, added: “We invest in businesses that add value to our portfolio and Giraffe represents an appealing proposition for both customers and landlords. We believe the brand has significant potential for further growth and look forward to working with Tom and his team to develop the group.” The acquisition forms part of BRH’s strategy to build a significant, multi-brand restaurant portfolio and will be supporting giraffe in growing the business. Giraffe will sit alongside BRH’s other scalable restaurant brands which are being rolled out; being the 43-strong Harry Ramsden’s, Fishworks and the Cinnamon Collection including the fine dining flagship Cinnamon Club. Further opportunities and acquisitions within the hospitality arena are being evaluated by BRH.

JD Wetherspoon to open eight pubs in six weeks: JD Wetherspoon is to open eight pubs and a hotel in the next six weeks. The first of the eight pubs, The Booking Office, opens at Edinburgh’s Waverley train station on Tuesday (June 14). Between June 14 and July 19 Wetherspoon will open pubs in Newton le Willows, Largs, Northolt, Formby, Huntingdon, Chatham and Okehampton. A hotel will also open at the Northolt pub and a further hotel will open, in September, alongside the Huntingdon pub. Wetherspoon chief executive, John Hutson said: “We are looking forward to opening our new pubs and hotels, a number of which are in towns where we are not yet represented.”

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