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Fri 8th Sep 2017 - Greene King reports like-for-like sales down 1.2% in first 18 weeks
Greene King reports like-for-like sales down 1.2% in first 18 weeks: Greene King has reported like-for-like sales down 1.2% in the 18 weeks to 3 September with most of the decline attributable to the value food market. The company stated ahead of its AGM: “In the first 18 weeks of the year, Pub Company like-for-like sales were down 1.2%, against a market which declined 0.7%. Excluding Fayre & Square, which is being rebranded during this financial year, like-for-like sales were down 0.9%. In the first ten weeks, like-for-like sales were in line with our expectations and broadly in line with last year, despite the tough comparisons from Euro 2016. However, since the second half of July, when the weather worsened, trading weakened. Over the course of the year so far, most of the like-for-like sales decline can be attributed to value food, although more recently we saw some softening across other segments. We are continuing to address the challenges of the value food sector through measured capital investment to upgrade and reposition pubs and through selective disposals. We are strengthening our customer offer with both our net promoter scores and our food quality scores across Pub Company continuing to improve this year, while our brand conversion programme is delivering returns in excess of 20%. In terms of costs, our programme to deliver £45m of cost savings this year, including further cost synergies from the Spirit acquisition, is on track. The scale of our cost saving programme helps to reduce the impact of weaker than anticipated sales through limiting margin declines from unprecedented industry cost pressures. Our other two businesses, Pub Partners and Brewing & Brands, continue to deliver strong returns and cash for the company. Like-for-like net profit in Pub Partners was up 1.4% after 16 weeks, with the impact of MRO in line with our expectations. In Brewing & Brands, own-brewed volume was down 0.5% against a UK ale market down 2.9% and a cask ale market down 7.0%. We remain cautious about the trading environment and expect the challenges of weaker consumer confidence, increased costs and increasing competition to persist over the near term. In the longer term, utilising the benefits of the Spirit acquisition, our brand conversion and cost saving programmes, our robust balance sheet and our strong cash generation will be important levers to help deliver competitive advantage, growth and attractive and sustainable dividends for our shareholders.”

McMullen’s promotes Heydon Mizon to joint managing director: Following the retirement of Peter Furness Smith, McMullen’s long-standing joint managing director, Heydon Mizon has now joined Tom McMullen in leading the company. Tom McMullen said: “There has been a long history at McMullen’s of the company drawing management experience from both inside and outside the family. Both bring slightly different perspectives, qualifications and experiences, which together have helped to ensure a stable and independent business upon which generations of customers, staff, suppliers and shareholders can rely. I am delighted that Heydon’s appointment as joint managing director is continuing this tradition.” Heydon Mizon joined McMullen’s in 2007 as the retail operations manager and was promoted to the board in 2013 as retail director. A former graduate trainee with Allied Domecq Mizon then moved to Pizza Hut before joining the Hertford based brewer and pub operator. As part of the succession process Matt Cotter has been promoted to Retail Operations Manager. He joined McMullen’s in 2005 and was twice McMullen’s Manager of the Year during a successful tenure at the Peahen in St Albans. He was promoted to area manager in 2011 ultimately becoming responsible for the growing Chicken & Grill brand. “We are delighted to welcome Matt into his new role where he can continue to support the growth and development of the people within McMullen’s to ensure that they, and our business, reach their potential,” said Mizon. Upon Cotter’s promotion the area manager team was strengthened with the appointment of Angela Cook who had previously been an area manager with Wetherspoon for 11 years.

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