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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 21st Jan 2013 - Breaking News - Amber Taverns reports 16% like-for-likes
Amber Taverns reports 16% increase in like-for-like sales over 12-day festive period; looking to add ten sites in 2013: Amber Taverns, the fast-growing wet-led pub company based in Preston and backed by LGV Capital, has reported like-for-like sales rose 16% for the 12-day festive period in December and were up by 4.4% for the whole month. Actual sales in December were £3.6m net, an increase on last December of 23%. On trading, chairman Clive Preston told Morning Briefing: “It took our breath away a bit – it really was exceptional. If a pub doesn’t work over Christmas, it’s never going to work. It started on mad Friday – and didn’t stop.” Preston reported that the sale increases came despite a sluggish start to December. “The first week in December is really no different in trading terms to the last week in November,” he said. Preston reported the company would like to add ten sites to the estate in 2013. “We’ve moving to add slightly bigger sites. We’ve got three sites in the pipeline that we’re hoping to pull off. We’re negotiating on a couple of sites that offer in excess of 5,000 square foot.” The company has also reported the acquisition of its 81st unit, the Black Bull in Doncaster, which it will continue to trade for a few weeks before commencing a major refit with a further investment of £300,000. On the 29 January, Amber will open its 82nd unit, The Bull in Morecambe, following a £350,000 refit. Amber Taverns agreed a £24m funding deal with Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets in October 2012. This facility enabled the company to add 11 new pubs last year to its existing pub portfolio as it continues to progress its expansion plans. Preston added: “Once again we have shown the viability and popularity of well run wet led pubs. We will add even more of the same to our existing estate over the year ahead as we continue to progress our strategy of building a quality pub portfolio.” Founded in 2005, Amber Taverns specialises in running wet-led pubs located at the heart of communities which are refurbished to the highest standards with full access to major televised sporting events. The company, which has banked with Lloyds Bank since it was founded in 2005, has said that it would continue to take advantage of reduced borrowing costs to maximise future growth. Preston said last year: “We are on course to own 100 pubs within two years and then we will see just how far we can go after that. At Amber Taverns, we’ve proved conclusively that the ‘wet led pub’ can thrive with a quality offering in the right location. We are succeeding by giving our customers what they want – value-for-money and the best sporting events in some terrific venues. As a result, each of our pubs now has an average profit of over £100,000 per annum. A major part of our success has been the on-going support and guidance we’ve received from Lloyds Bank’s Liverpool office which has an outstanding knowledge of this sector and the requirements of our business.”

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