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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 4th May 2017 - Wear Inns appoints new managing director
Wear Inns appoints new managing director: North east managed operator Wear Inns has appointed Simon Duckworth as managing director on a permanent basis. Duckworth, who was previously finance director, had been interim managing director since the sudden death of John Weir in August last year. Full-year results are due out later this year but strong sales in food and drink are expected to push turnover above £14m (2016: £13.6m) with a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales contributing to a 12% rise in profits. Duckworth said he plans to invest significantly in the existing estate, enhancing and refreshing the offer across its 25 pubs in the north east and Yorkshire. He added there are no plans in the pipeline to continue on the acquisition trail, though if an opportunity arises that fits with Wear Inns’ strategic objectives and geography it will be considered. In the past year two pubs have been sold – New Inn, Durham and The Turf, Bradford – while one has been bought – the Whistlestop near Leeds United’s Elland Road ground. Wear Inns has also carried out two major refurbishments in recent weeks – The Guide Post in Springwell Village, Gateshead and The Ox in Stanley, County Durham – and these refits are already reaping rewards with increased sales at both pubs. Duckworth said: “It has been a momentous year in several ways. John Weir’s sad death last August left all of us feeling bereft and uncertain about the future, but everyone has pulled together and carried on, and the anticipated results for the year are a testament to the fact that John had built an efficient and robust business. As the new managing director it remains my intention to continue to run the business the way John would have wanted, and to maintain the same philosophy of providing excellent amenities, service and value to customers, and an excellent place to work for employees.” Having trained with Price Waterhouse Coopers and worked in several industries as finance director, Duckworth was working with the NVM Private Equity team that supported Weir and his business partner John Sands from the formation of Wear Inns in 2006 through the early years of growth. He joined the company full time as finance director in 2012 and it is now the biggest independent freehold managed operator in the region in terms of volume of beer sold. Duckworth said: “The past few months have been a transition period, but with the start of a new financial year we can look forward to the future with confidence. Having worked with both Johns for ten years I have gained extensive experience in the pub industry and there is a strong operational team in place. I intend to work with them to uphold the values of Wear Inns and ensure it goes from strength to strength, providing great value, all day, every day.” Sands added: “John Weir is sadly missed but in Simon we have someone who shares his passion to grow an effective business and give customers exactly what they want. He has done a terrific job on an interim basis and the board is delighted to confirm his position as managing director.”

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