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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Wed 27th Jul 2022 - Update: Marston’s, Everyman, Coca-Cola
Marston’s reports like-for-likes down 2% versus 2019, fixes energy costs: Marston’s has reported total like-for-like sales for the 42-week period to 23 July were down 2% versus the 2019 financial year. The company stated: “As previously reported, this reflects the impact of the reintroduction of trading restrictions in December and January and corresponding impact on consumer sentiment in H1. Encouragingly, total retail sales in the group’s managed and franchise pubs returned to FY2019 levels in the period. Drinks sales have continued to outperform food sales, once again reinforcing the steadfast trading resilience of Marston’s predominantly community pub estate. Like-for-like sales in the last 16 weeks to 23 July are 1% below FY2019, but in the first 12 weeks of this period sales were slightly ahead of FY2019, and over the last four weeks of the period despite drinks sales continuing to be in growth, food sales have weakened principally due to the recent spell of very hot weather. The level of customer demand has been encouraging, notwithstanding the uncertainty around the cost of living for consumers. Looking forward, the group remains well placed to deliver positive trading with its balanced estate of predominantly community pubs, investment in outdoor trading areas and staycation custom. As previously highlighted, the group’s electricity contract ended in March 2022. The ongoing situation in Ukraine continues to impact energy prices, and consequently electricity costs are expected to be c. £2.0m higher than previously guided for H2 of this financial year. With energy cost inflation likely to persist in the short term, Marston’s has taken the decision to fix the group’s electricity rates for Winter 2022, covering the six-month period from September 2022 to March 2023 with an incremental cost impact of c£3.0m in financial year 2023. The group’s gas price is also fixed until the end of March 2025 with no additional incremental spend anticipated.” Chief executive Andrew Andrea said: “Since covid restrictions were lifted, we have been encouraged with the level of sales as we have transitioned to operating on a ‘business as usual’ basis. In spite of external economic headwinds, we have not seen any discernible change to customer footfall to date and remain cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see similar levels of customer demand across the summer where we will benefit from our investments in outside space and staycations. We continue to focus on our strategic plans and remain on track with our debt reduction strategy. We are making considerable progress with the transition away from our value food Two for One brand which will be complete by the end of September. We have completed 45 of these pub conversions to date and, whilst still early days, initial indications are encouraging with positive customer feedback and improving returns. We remain confident that the changes we are implementing now will deliver a higher quality business for the group over the medium to longer term.”

Everyman reports reassuring six months with revenue up £11.8m versus 2019: Everyman Media Group has reported group revenue of £40.7m in the 26 weeks to 30 June, an increase of £11.8m versus the same period in 2019. Group Ebitda of £7.5m was an increase of £0.9m versus the same period in 2019. The company stated: “The group’s performance was particularly reassuring given that 2019 was a record year. Growth was driven by a combination of an increased number of venues, strong admissions and higher average spends as well as benefitting from reduced VAT in the first quarter. The board is confident the financial performance of the company for the full year ending 31 December 2022 will be in line with market expectations. The group ended the period operating 37 cinemas (H1 2019: 28 cinemas), having opened a five-screen venue in Edinburgh. The pipeline for H2 2022 and 2023 is ‘well progressed’ with a minimum of six further venues contracted to open.” Alex Scrimgeour, chief executive of Everyman, said: “It has been a busy six months for the group, as our exceptional venue teams entertained guests across the country. Despite well publicised headwinds we have managed to deliver record half year sales and Ebitda. We remain confident that people’s enjoyment of cinema and specifically Everyman remains undiminished”.

Shopping bills soar to put more pressure on consumers: Shop prices are rising at an unprecedented pace, deepening the cost of living crisis that has already sent consumer confidence levels to record lows. The Times reports average shop prices this month are 4.4% higher than they were a year ago, according to the latest data from the British Retail Consortium, which said it was the highest rate of shop prices inflation since it first started collecting the data back in 2005. It marks a sharp acceleration from last month, when prices were on average 3.1% higher year-on-year. Compared with June, shop prices have increased by 0.7%. Within the headline figure, annual food inflation rose to 7% in July, up from 5.6% in June. Not since May 2009 have prices of food risen so quickly. That was despite supermarkets “doing all they can” to keep prices down, the trade body said. Prices of fresh food have climbed particularly fast, with prices up 8% compared with this time last year. That was comfortably ahead of the annual inflation rate of 6.2% recorded in June. The biggest price rises have been in dairy products, the consortium said. Some butters are now so expensive that supermarkets have started to put security tags on them. Food prices have been pushed up by more expensive animal feeds and fertilisers – problems that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – as well as what the trade body has called “exorbitant land transport costs”, with petrol prices at record highs. Supermarkets have already started to report shoppers “trading down” to cheaper brands. In response to that trend and to the wider cost of living crunch, the consortium said retailers were “expanding their value ranges”. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the trade body, added: “As inflation reaches new heights, retailers are doing all they can to absorb as much of these rising costs as possible and to look for efficiencies in their businesses and supply chain. Nevertheless, households and businesses must prepare for a difficult period as inflationary pressures hit home.”

Number of coffee shop operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A number of coffee shop operators are among the 43 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday (29 July), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features global coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts, which has more than 20 UK sites, with openings also “coming soon” in Leeds and West Bridgford. Also added this month is Elsewhere, the south London coffee roaster concept founded by Jack Howells, which opened its first cafe, in Herne Hill, in 2021, and has expanded its offering with a second cafe, at 361 Brockley Road, in Deptford. In addition, Eastbourne coffee shop Nelson Coffee, which is owned by Ben and Lucy Nicholson and operates sites in Terminus Road and Station Parade, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,200-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. It features more than 2,000 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 5 August, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 18,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to a new database. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. The third edition, which was sent on Friday (22 July), features 140 companies and almost 60,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Mark Wingett.

Coca-Cola profits are starting to fizz again: Coca-Cola has upgraded its annual sales guidance amid robust demand for fizzy drinks despite higher prices and Costa Coffee’s continued recovery pandemic cafe closures. The world’s largest soft drinks company beat expectations on Wall Street, with revenue climbing 12% to $11.3bn in the second quarter; exceeding analysts’ forecasts of about $10.55bn. Net income fell 28% to $1.91bn over the same period. Average selling prices increased by about 12% during the three months to 1 July, the group said, as it grappled with the mounting cost of everything from corn syrup to cans. It estimates that organic revenue will rise between 12 and 13% this year, having previously forecast an increase of up to 8%. Profits are projected to grow by between 5 and 6%. Excluding the impact of the stronger dollar, they are projected to rise by between 14 and 15%. Coca-Cola, which has a market value of more than $275bn, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and led by the British businessman James Quincey. Its shares closed up 1.4%, or 84 cents, to $63.03 in New York last night. A 15% increase in Coca-Cola’s coffee sales was primarily driven by the impact of reopening Costa shops across the UK, which were closed during lockdowns. Net revenues with the company’s global ventures division, which houses interests including Costa and Innocent smoothies, slipped 2% to $695m in the quarter. The unit’s operating profits fell 41% to $44m. Quincey, chairman and chief executive, said: “Our results this quarter reflect the agility of our business, the strength of our streamlined portfolio of brands, and the actions we’ve taken to execute for growth.”

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