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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 26th Jan 2016 - Marston's Xmas trading, new Restaurant Group chairman
Marston’s reports record Christmas trading: Marston’s has reported record Christmas trading amid the 16-week period to 16 January 2016. The company stated: “In Destination and Premium, like-for-like sales were 3.0% ahead of last year including like-for-like food sales growth of 2.5% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 3.4%. In the key two week Christmas trading period to 2 January trading was good with like-for-like growth of 4.9% despite tough comparatives. Operating margins are ahead of last year. Our plans are on track to open at least 20 new pub-restaurants and five lodges in the current financial year, with seven pub and three lodge openings expected in the first half. In Taverns, managed and franchise pub like-for-like sales were 2.7% ahead of last year, with 5.0% growth over the Christmas fortnight. The evolution of the franchise model continues to be a key driver of growth, and has been extended into higher turnover pubs, with the highest turnover franchise pub achieving £30k per week over the holiday period. In Leased, profits are estimated to be around 3.0% ahead of last year. In Brewing, our strong brand portfolio has performed well with own-brewed volume up 21% in the year to date, underpinned by a very strong performance in the off-trade.” Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “Once again we traded well over the Christmas period with record sales over the key Christmas fortnight for the fourth year in succession, maintaining our record of market out-performance, including pub retail sales of over £3 million on Christmas Day for the first time. This performance demonstrates the appeal of our pubs and the value for money we offer, underpinned by excellent service. In Brewing, our principal brands and new beers contributed to an excellent first quarter.”

Debbie Hewitt to succeed Alan Jackson as chairman of The Restaurant Group: Debbie Hewitt is to succeed Alan Jackson as chairman of The Restaurant Group. Hewitt, MBE becomes non-executive chairman following the company’s AGM on 12 May 2016. Jackson, who is retiring, has overseen the company for the past 15 years and has been ‘an instrumental part of its success’, the company stated. Jackson informed shareholders in 2014 that he would retire in 2016. He has played a pivotal role in initially turning around the then ailing City Centre Restaurants and subsequently building the company into a leading restaurant business. He has shown strong and insightful leadership throughout his tenure, delivering a strong succession plan for the board. Hewitt was appointed as a non-executive director of the company in May 2015. She has extensive public company expertise in the consumer sector both as an executive and as a non executive director, including current non executive roles as chairman of Moss Bros Group and senior non-executive director of Redrow and NCC Group. Alan Jackson said: “I am delighted that Debbie has agreed to succeed me. She has strong business credentials and I know that she will add insight and guidance to the board. The Restaurant Group has been on a tremendous journey and it has been a privilege to be a part of its growth and development. It is a fantastic company and I have a very high regard for the team. I wish everyone involved in the business every success in the future.” Debbie Hewitt said: “The board of The Restaurant Group wishes to extend its gratitude to Alan for his contribution to the success of the company. The Restaurant Group has great brands and highly talented people and Alan has played an important role in bringing strategic vision, strong market insight and leadership of the board throughout his tenure as chairman. He has taken a proactive role in preparing the board for his succession. I look forward to working with the management team to deliver the next phase of the company’s growth.”

Conviviality hires two key staff members, one from Mitchells & Butlers: Conviviality, the off licence and convenience chain and that recently acquired a Matthew Clark, the wholesaler and distributor of alcoholic beverages to the on trade market, has hired David Robinson as managing director of Conviviality Retail, the business unit focused on our franchise store operations. David brings with him a wealth of experience having spent over 20 years of his career working in senior roles in the retail industry across a range of disciplines including commercial, marketing and operations. Robinson’s start date will be confirmed in due course. Robinson joins the business from Home Retail Group plc where he was a member of the executive board and, most recently, chief operating officer of Argos. In this role, he was one of the architects of Argos’ Transformation Plan and successfully led the implementation of its strategic, operational and financial plans. Prior to this, David was commercial director and sat on the Argos board; and before that he was commercial director at Homebase. David also had senior roles with Dixons Stores Group as well as spending six years running his own successful events management business. Conviviality also announced it has hired Mark Simmonds as commercial finance director for Conviviality Retail. Simmonds joins from Mitchells and Butlers where he was director of financial planning and analysis and prior to this he held a number of finance and commercial roles during his 19 years with the business. He will take up his role in March.

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