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Mon 8th May 2017 - Hospitality spend grows 9.2% in April, St Austell Brewery turnover up 13.2%, Camm & Hooper to launch sixth site
Spending in restaurants, bars and hotels grows 9.2% in April but consumer spend slows: Spending in restaurants, bars and hotels grew 9.2% in April compared with last year although overall consumer spend slowed, according to the latest data from Visa. Food and drink retailers posted the steepest increase in spending volumes for three years (5.9%), Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index has revealed. Both sectors led the way as UK household spending grew 0.5% year-on-year in April – the weakest rise for three months. The other sectors that saw year-on-year growth were recreation and culture (2.8%), clothing and footwear (2.3%), and miscellaneous goods and services (0.5%). Meanwhile, spending on health and education dropped 9.5%, while transport and communications saw a 9.2% decline and household goods spend fell 3.4%. Face-to-face categories posted a marginal rise in spending in April (+0.3% year-on-year), after a modest decline in March (-1.3%). Although only slight, it marked the first increase in face-to-face expenditure in 2017 so far, likely to have been supported by the timing of the Easter holidays in 2017, which fell in April as opposed to March in 2016. In contrast, e-commerce expenditure was broadly flat, having fallen 0.1% year-on-year in April. This contrasted with an 8.2% increase in March – the first time spending across e-commerce had declined since September 2013. Visa UK and Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins said: “Consumer spending slowed further in April as consumers tightened their belts in the face of rising prices running up against stalling wage growth. Annual spending growth fell back to 0.5%, from an already subdued rate of 1% in March. While overall figures suggest clouds are gathering over British consumers, there were still some bright spots. Easter and the extended half-term break may have contributed towards a strong uplift of over 9% in the hospitality sector. Meanwhile, Easter eggs and hot-cross buns helped food and drink sales rise at their fastest rate in three years, up nearly 6%. This seems to support the claim of some food and drink retailers that Easter is becoming ‘the new Christmas’. Clothing and footwear retailers experienced a long-awaited boost as consumers took advantage of mid-season sales or shopped for warmer weather abroad. Spend was up 2.3%, its highest rate since October 2016. In contrast, bargains on big-ticket items such as furniture and white goods over the Easter weekend failed to reverse the fortune of the sector, with sales falling by 3.4%.”

St Austell Brewery reports turnover increases 13.2% to £153.2m: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has reported turnover increased 13.2% to £153.2m for the year ending 31 December 2016. The company, which has 178 pubs, also saw operating profit rise 5.2% to £14m. Non-executive chairman Will Michelmore said: “I am very pleased to report another record financial performance for St Austell Brewery in the 52-week period ended 31 December 2016. During the year we invested £25.9m in capital expenditure, of which £16.7m was on new acquisitions. These acquisitions included the purchase of Bath Ales. This acquisition supported our strategy to strengthen and extend our presence in this important trading region. The company has also added new sites to its pub portfolio during the year as well as investing in our production and distribution facilities and refurbishing and improving our pubs and hotels.” Chief executive James Staughton added: “The acquisition of Bath Ales was a logical step towards our strategic objective of having the best pub estate and premier beer brands in the south west of England. A review of our strategic ambition led to the acquisition of Bath Ales, which we have long admired. Its pubs and beers complement those of St Austell and our integration plans are on track. Our strategy is to continue to invest for the long term and ensure we remain focused on delivering wonderful, distinctive experiences through great products and services, conscious innovation, measurement and the scaling of what works. The company’s continued success relies on our employees and licensees and I thank them all for their hard work, dedication and relentless commitment to delighting our customers.”

Camm & Hooper to launch Grace Hall events space in City of London, sixth site: Imbiba Partnership-backed events and hospitality group Camm & Hooper will open its sixth venue, Grace Hall, in the City this autumn following a £2m investment. The venue will open in Leadenhall Street, with the former Grace and Co Bank building refurbished by Russell Sage Studios. The project aims to embrace the venue’s art deco heritage and will comprise four events spaces accommodating a total of up to 200 people theatre-style, 170 seated and up to 600 standing. Camm & Hooper’s City portfolio includes Banking Hall in Cornhill and Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate and Grace Hall will offer clients the ability to host a daytime event at one venue and the afterparty at another. Camm & Hooper managing director Claire Lawson said: “We are delighted to acquire this stunning venue, which neatly fits our portfolio and gives our clients the flexibility of a third iconic Camm & Hooper space in the heart of the City.” Camm & Hooper also operates London venues Tanner and Co, Tanner Warehouse and Six Storeys on Soho. In March, the company said it was looking to open up to three sites in the next couple of years after seeing turnover rise to £6,638,045 for the year ending 28 August 2016, compared with £5,326,556 the year before. Site Ebitda grew to £1,608,178 from £1,003,152, which was “in line with the business growth plans”.

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