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Thu 21st Nov 2019 - Update: New Costa boss, Time Out Chicago, NewRiver
Costa appoints Jill McDonald as its new CEO: Costa Coffee has appointed former Marks & Spencer clothing boss Jill McDonald as its new chief executive. The coffee chain, which was purchased by Coca-Cola for £3.9bn earlier this year, announced that McDonald, who was also previously UK chief executive at McDonald’s, will replace current chief executive Dominic Paul at the end of this month. The drinks company hailed Paul for leading the chain, which has more than 2,600 UK coffee shops, through a “strong growth phase” after the takeover. McDonald has taken the helm after she was ousted as the boss at M&S in July after failing to turn around the retailer’s distressed clothing and home division. She left the high street stalwart after criticism from M&S chief executive Steve Rowe over the performance of key clothing ranges and errors which saw popular products run out of stock. Prior to joining M&S, she was the chief executive at bikes and car parts business Halfords for two years until 2017. McDonald said: “I have long been a fan of Costa and have watched the company grow in the UK and far beyond. I look forward to joining the Costa leadership team and building on the great foundation and growth potential in the business.” Jennifer Mann, president of global ventures for The Coca-Cola Company, said: “I am excited to welcome Jill to the Costa family. Her track record, depth of international experience and excitement about joining our business makes her an ideal leader to build on the great work of Dominic and the rest of the Costa team. Dominic led a significant reshaping of Costa’s international footprint, the expansion of the brand across multiple new platforms and a wide-ranging reset of the core UK business strategy.”

Time Out opens Chicago site featuring 18 of the city’s best chefs: Time Out Group, the global media and leisure business, has announced Time Out Market Chicago has opened ‘bringing the best of the city under one roof, based on the editorial curation Time Out has always been known for’. The company stated: “Occupying three floors, Time Out Market Chicago showcases an outstanding lineup of 18 of the city’s best chefs and restaurateurs, including two with Michelin stars in their own restaurants. There are also three bars, a demonstration kitchen, an events kitchen, an entertainment platform with bleacher seating and an all-season rooftop bar complete with impressive skyline views. Located at 916 W Fulton Market in the city’s thriving West Loop neighbourhood, this is the group’s largest location in North America. With its 50,000 sq ft and unique design, Time Out Market Chicago is a vibrant and expansive space offering a unique array of culinary and cultural experiences. The first Time Out Market opened in 2014 in Lisbon and today the food and cultural market remains Portugal’s most popular attraction with 3.9 million visitors in 2018. Following this success, five new Time Out Markets opened in North America this year in Miami and New York (May), in Boston (June), Montréal (November) and in Chicago today. The six Time Out Markets now offer food from 120 of the best chefs of these cities, occupying 185,000 sq ft and accommodating almost 4,000 seats. The global roll out of the successful format continues with Time Out Market openings in Dubai (2020), London-Waterloo (2021) and in Prague thereafter; the company continues to scope new locations.” 

NewRiver reports progress in its 660-strong pub estate: Property company NewRiver, reporting results for its Half Year, has announced its 660-strong pub business, which includes Hawthorn Leisure is delivering year-on-year growth. Like-for-like Ebitda growth per pub of +was 5.5%, delivered by scale-based synergies from the Hawthorn Leisure and NewRiver integration. It reported a capital expenditure programme is delivering strong returns – 26 projects over the last six months at a cost of £1.4m have delivered in aggregate a return on investment of 24%. The company stated: “Across the industry, like-for-like sales are up 1.8% according to Coffer Peach Tracker, and local community, wet-led pubs are out-performing the market (whilst) food-led pubs continue to face headwinds of market overcapacity and the growing home delivery market.” The company said there are opportunities to further expand the pub portfolio. “(It’s been a) highly active two years for transactional activity in the pub capital markets, and deals have been highly supportive of valuations and provide opportunities for further expansion of our portfolio,” the company stated. Chief executive Allan Lockhart said: “We are pleased to report another period of solid performance, as we entered our 10th year of operations. Our diversified and differentiated portfolio continued to outperform the market, delivering sustainable cash flows, robust operational metrics and resilient valuations. We have made good progress with our key strategies to deliver Underlying Funds From Operations growth and a fully covered dividend. In light of this progress, we have maintained our dividend for the first half at 10.8 pence per share, with cover improved from the comparative period. Since 1 April 2019 to the date of this announcement we have completed, exchanged or are under offer on disposals at a blended yield of 5.4%, and have recycled most of this capital into five retail parks at a blended yield of 9.0%. Our market-leading asset management platform continues to expand, and now covers a growing number of third-party assets, including our most recent appointment by Knowsley Council. In pubs, supply chain benefits continue to drive like-for-like Ebitda growth, and we continue to extract further value from our portfolio. Our strong and unsecured balance sheet, and our ability to recycle capital, leaves us well-positioned to continue our progress to dividend cover.” The rate of growth in its pubs business is expected to moderate following annualisation of Hawthorn Leisure integration in January 2020. Pub occupancy stands at 96.7% (March 2019: 97.9%).

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