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Mon 17th Sep 2018 - Stonegate reports like-for-likes up 19.2% during the World Cup
Stonegate reports like-for-likes up 19.2% during the World Cup: Stonegate Pub Company, which operate 691 pubs, has reported sales, margin and profit in the 40 weeks to 1 July 2018 – like-for-like sales growth hit 19.2% during the World Cup. The company stated: “Once again, this period has seen increasing outperformance of drink-led businesses compared to food. Quarter Three demonstrated another consecutive period of positive momentum for the group with like for like sales growth of 6.1%. This excellent performance was further aided by good weather over the Summer and the FIFA World Cup. 18 days of the 32 day World Cup tournament fell within the Q3 trading period. Total revenue for the 40 weeks ended 1 July 2018 was up 8.4% to £579.4 million, with like for like sales +4.6%. Continued conversion of sales growth saw adjusted Ebitda up 9.1% to £84.6 million, driven by the ongoing success of the investment programme and capitalising on key sporting events such as the World Cup. This performance is all the more pleasing in view of the continued cost headwinds of duty, National Living Wage, apprenticeship levy and business rates facing the sector. The group delivered a particularly strong trading performance over the 2018 FIFA World Cup (14 June through to 15 July), with like for like sales up 19.2%. The tournament delivered a total of £11.9 million of incremental revenue which delivered an uplift of £6.1 million in sales during the three weeks which fell within the Q3 trading period, reflecting customers’ willingness to spend during key events and further validating Stonegate’s market-leading position in sports-led entertainment. Beer sales increased 550% for England games compared to 44% for the rest of the world matches. 4.5 million pints were sold throughout the tournament, peaking in the England versus Croatia semi final with 367,000 pints consumed. The company has completed 96 investments in the 40 weeks ended 1 July 2018 investing in sites across Stonegate’s multi-format pub portfolio. The capital investment programme has been first half weighted this year to take advantage of the early Easter trading opportunity, lower closure costs in January and February and to ensure the majority of investments were completed to maximise the trading opportunity provided by the FIFA World Cup in June and July. The investment programme is running ahead of plan and the group continues to deliver strong returns. It is anticipated that a total of 104 sites will be invested in during the course of the full year. The group acquired four new pubs in Q3 and 17 sites were disposed of (including three non trading sites), bringing the estate to 691 as at 1 July 2018. Post the Q3 period end, Stonegate acquired 33 Be at One cocktail bars, as well as a portfolio of 15 high quality assets from Novus Leisure, as part of the group’s continued multi-format growth strategy to consolidate the drink-led market. Following these acquisitions, Stonegate comprises 739 operating venues, further establishing the group’s position as a leading managed pub operator in town and city centre locations nationwide.” Simon Longbottom, chief executive, said: “This has been a record quarter for Stonegate with another period of continued sales, margin and profit growth, supported by strong trading over the Summer and World Cup. This excellent performance is all the more pleasing in that it has been achieved whilst maintaining margin despite continued cost headwinds. Our preparation ahead of the World Cup enabled us to maximise the trading opportunity which the tournament presented. We aim to offer our customers the very best sporting experience, creating an atmosphere which is the next best thing to the real event. The Stonegate team rose to the challenge to provide an unrivalled World Cup experience in our pubs and bars up and down the country, generating exceptional sales uplift and further underpinning Stonegate’s leading credentials in sports-led entertainment.”

Christie Group reports revenues and profits up: Property agent and professional services group Christie Group, has reported revenues up 10.0% to £38.4m (H1 2017: £34.9m) in the sixth month to the end of 30 June 2018. First half operating profit was £2.0m (H1 2017: £1.1m). David Rugg, chairman and chief executive of Christie Group, said: “The first half saw progress in performance and our services remain in demand from sophisticated commercial audiences. As anticipated, this profit is significantly ahead of our performance for the same period in the previous year. As I indicated at our AGM in June, this improvement was primarily attributable to an enhanced performance from our international operations. During the period we completed the significant project of readying for the introduction of GDPR in late May. While the costs – which we estimate at £0.3m – were not insignificant, we believe the benefits of having cleansed and reorganised our records will be tangible in terms of increased operational efficiency. We recognise an increasing demand for a more flexible approach to employee benefits to both recruit and retain the best people. Our recent investment in an integrated payroll & HR system will help us to facilitate this. As reported in our 2017 annual report and accounts, we indirectly own the freehold interest in Pinder House. A recently initiated rent review of the property as at May 2018, commissioned for internal purposes, indicates an additional £1.1m of shareholder equity that could be recognised, were we to formally revalue the property.”

BigDish launches in Bath today: BigDish, the company which operates a yield management platform for restaurants, is making its beta launch in the UK today with a select number of restaurants in Bath. The company stated: “A select number of restaurants in Bath were chosen for the beta launch of BigDish in the UK. The betastage will be for an initial one month period. The goals of this first month are to ensure that the technology and booking process operates seamlessly, to test various marketing channels with a view to understanding the economics to achieve scale, and to gain insights into customer data via the BigDish proprietary business intelligence platform. At the end of this one month period, BigDish will seek to increase the number of restaurants in Bath and expand to neighbouring Bristol. The goal for the fourth quarter in Bath and Bristol is to grow to 70, predominantly independent, restaurants. The company will target larger restaurant chains at a latter date. The company has hired a territory manager who will seek to grow the business in south west England. During October, the Bournemouth restaurants currently on TablePouncer will be migrated to the BigDish platform. In 2017, TablePouncer received 45,117 bookings in Bournemouth and seated 126,122 diners, a market leading position and an increase on the previous year. BigDish will generate revenue in the UK initially by charging restaurants an average fee of £1 per diner seated via the BigDish platform. The company collects revenue in the UK predominantly via direct debit. As BigDish grows around the UK, the company hopes to create additional revenue streams which include premium placing on the platform, advertising within the application, and monetization of data insights. Based on reaching the fourth quarter objectives in the UK, the company then plans to embark on an aggressive roll out across the UK, targeting up to 6,000 restaurants. BigDish believes that yield management presents an opportunity to disrupt restaurant discount cards and voucher or coupon businesses. These business models generate minimal to no data and are ripe for disruption. In addition, these old models offer little flexibility to restaurants and BigDish believes it is important to create a win-win solution for both restaurants and consumers. Dynamic pricing changed the way airlines seats and hotel rooms were sold and BigDish believes the restaurant industry has the same potential.” Chief executive Joost Boer said: “Launching today in the UK is a fantastic milestone for BigDish. We have seen that TablePouncer achieved incredible success in Bournemouth in terms of user adoption and we are excited to replicate this success across the UK with BigDish. In the fourth quarter of 2018 we plan to establish our foothold in the UK and set the stage for rapid and explosive growth around the UK next year. All the indications are that the UK will be our fastest growing and largest market. We will also stay ahead of the curve with our technology platform by continuing to develop innovative ways to ensure BigDish is a truly lasting, win-win proposition, for both consumers and restaurants. We look forward to updating the market on our progress.”

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