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Tue 17th Jan 2017 - Results update: Greggs, Hotel Chocolat and Elegant Hotels
Greggs reports 2016 results expected to be ahead of expectations: Greggs has reported total sales up 7.0% in 2016 with company-managed shop like-for-like sales up 4.2%. A total of 208 refits were completed in 2016 with 145 new shops opened in the year and 79 closures. Full year results are now anticipated to be slightly ahead of previous expectations. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We finished 2016 well, delivering our thirteenth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, and anticipate that we will report full year results for 2016 slightly ahead of our previous expectations. In the year ahead, whilst we will undoubtedly see a number of well-documented industry headwinds, we are confident we will continue to make progress with the implementation of our strategic plan, including significant investment in our capability to supply a growing shop estate.” The company added: “For our 2016 financial year as a whole (52 weeks ended 31 December 2016) total sales grew by 7% and company-managed shop like-for-like sales grew by 4.2%. Sales over the Christmas period were particularly strong, aided by a favourable trading pattern and, as a result, fourth quarter company-managed shop like-for-like sales grew by 6.4%. Excluding the final two weeks of the year fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth was 4.1%. Customers enjoyed seasonal favourites such as our Festive Bake and traditional mince pies but our growing strength in food-on-the-go was the main driver of sales. Our new ‘Balanced Choice’ bakes have proved popular along with hot food options such as our new burritos, and we will soon be extending our hot drinks range to include Vanilla Latte alongside Fairtrade Peppermint Tea and Green Tea. During the year we opened 145 new shops (including 56 franchised units) and closed 79, growing the estate to 1,764 shops trading as at 31 December 2016. We now have 157 franchised shops operated by partners in travel and other convenience locations. As planned, our estate management programme included the closure of a number of freehold shops and an office building. This resulted in disposal gains in the year of £2.2 million, some £1.5 – 2.0 million higher than might be expected in an average year. In 2016, we converted a further 208 shops to our successful “bakery food-on-the-go” format. We expect to refurbish shops at a similar rate in the year ahead to maintain our modern, food-on-the-go experience for customers. Alongside the trading activity we delivered a number of significant elements of our previously announced strategic investment programme, including successful trials of our new shop replenishment system. We also commissioned our new distribution centre in Enfield, which is operating well, and this enabled the planned closure of our bakery in Twickenham in November. The professional manner in which this complex and difficult process was carried out is a credit to all of our colleagues involved. Looking forward there is greater uncertainty in the trading environment with increased pressure on real income growth. We also continue to expect some industry-wide cost pressures in 2017 and these are likely to have a modest impact on margins in the short term. 2017 will be another busy year of change as we continue to progress our investment in better systems and the transformation and development of our supply chain. Over the medium term we are confident of making further progress as we implement our plan to grow Greggs as a modern food-on-the-go brand.”

Hotel Chocolat reports strong final quarter of 2016: Hotel Chocolat Group, the British chocolatier and omni-channel retailer, has reported total sales up 16.2% for the 13 weeks ended 25 December 2016 (14.6% on a proforma constant currency basis). The company stated: “Retail growth was driven by increases in footfall and items per basket, with customers also choosing to buy more higher-priced gift items. The digital business showed similar momentum, and in January a new website launched; improvements include optimisation for smartphones and tablets, a bespoke ‘gift creator’ service for delivered gifts, and better integration of the tasting club subscription service. The business opened 10 new stores during the six months ended December, and now has 90 stores in the UK. Seven of the new stores included the signature drinks offer of Hot Chocolat, coffee-chocolate and light cocoa infusions. Trading since December continues to be in line with management’s expectations. The board expects to announce the group’s results for the six months ended 25 December 2016 on 22 February 2017. Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive, said: “The growing strength of the Hotel Chocolat brand has enabled us to perform well.” Our seasonal ranges included many new innovations and our cafe drinks offer adds a new dimension to our experience. Being a UK manufacturer gave us the flexibility to maintain good stock availability right up to the end of the season. I would like to thank the whole team for their energy, enthusiasm and tireless commitment to delivering on our plans.” The group acquired Hotel Chocolat Estates (St Lucia) Ltd in April 2016. The proforma results include the sales from St Lucia in 2015 and 2016.

Elegant Hotels claims “solid performance”: Elegant Hotels Group, the owner and operator of six upscale freehold hotels and a beachfront restaurant on the island of Barbados and where investor Luke Johnson holds a stake, has claimed a sold performance in challenging market conditions for the year ended 30 September 2016. Revenue was down 5.2% to $57.0 million (2015: $60.1 million) and RevPAR down 6.7% to $238 (2015: $255). ADR (average daily rates) were up 1.3% to $378 (2015: $373). Adjusted Ebitda was down 11.6% to $19.6 million (2015: $22.2 million) and adjusted operating profit: down 14.5% to $16.3 million (2015: $19.1 million). It had year-end net debt of $61.8 million (2015: $40.8 million). Sunil Chatrani, chief executive of Elegant Hotels, said: “Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions, the group has delivered a solid performance and made good progress in key areas during the year. We have significantly expanded our business, both through the acquisition of Waves Hotel & Spa in Barbados and the management contract that we recently signed on a property in Antigua. Despite the current challenges that the group and the wider Barbados luxury hotel market are facing, we continue to be confident in our long term growth prospects and remain committed to our expansion strategy in both Barbados and across other parts of the Caribbean.”

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