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Wed 2nd Aug 2017 - Update: Amber Taverns, By Chloe, Soho Coffee, HonestBrew, AG Barr
Amber Taverns reports turnover and profit boost: Community pub operator Amber Taverns, led by James Baer, has reported turnover rose 23.5% to £64,951,802 in the year to 5 February 2017 (2016: £52,602,681). Pre-tax profit rose to £8,735,964 from £8,164,643 the year before. Company Ebitda increased to £14,024,000 from £11,002,000 the year before. Operating profit before exceptional items was £8,735,964 (2016: £8,164,643), an increase of 7%. The size of the estate rose to 130 with two other sites disposed of. Since the year-end, the company has sold sites in Felling and Edlingron, completed on four new sites and exchanged on one more. The company added: “The directors remain confident that the company’s well-proven formula of a value offer in a modern community pub environment will generate further significant growth in profits in 2017-2018 and that the company will continue to develop and expand its offering in the changing economic climate successfully.” 

New York vegan brand By Chloe to open in Covent Garden: A New York vegan brand is to open in London’s Covent Garden. By Chloe has seven sites in New York. The London branch will be the first one outside the US. It is due to open in the autumn. The New York menu includes pesto meatballs, kelp noodles and quinoa hash browns, though the exact offering is different in every branch. By Chloe was initially founded by celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli, along with hospitality company Esquared. The chef split from the deal when she didn’t want her partner to open a non-vegan restaurant under her name. Despite Coscarelli’s departure from the partnership, By Chloe continues to expand.

Soho Coffee opens third site in a month: Soho Coffee Co has opened next to Somerset House, on the north side of Waterloo Bridge. It’s the third site in Westminster, the third store to open in a month and the eighth opening nationally this year. The Waterloo Bridge store puts the brand three quarters of the way to their target of eleven store openings this year. Penny Manuel, managing director of Soho Coffee Co. said: “All our stores are individual, as individual as our customers. Our sites in London highlight this diversity and we are enjoying the opportunities and challenges this brings.” The new Waterloo Bridge outlet arrives less than 14 days behind the Soho store on Grosvenor Street in Mayfair. The brand is planning further openings for 2017, and has already opened outlets in Cheltenham and Birmingham alongside Baker Street, O2 Centre, Austin Friars, Kingsway and Grosvenor Street in London, since January.

Online craft beer retailer secures a further £1.5m investment: Online craft beer retailer HonestBrew has secured a further £1.5m investment to continue its support of independent craft breweries, bringing total investment to date to £2.4m. A spokesman said: “The funding round is led by Hargreave Hale VCTs and a group of high net worth individuals. In addition to continuing growth of its online platform, which offers both commerce and subscription services, the funds will be used by HonestBrew to launch a physical space and expand its trade service. HonestBrew is passionate about introducing people to the world’s best craft beer. It sources beers from the best independent craft breweries around the world and delivers them directly to homes and workplaces across the UK. In addition to the online bottleshop, which features 500+ beers from around the word, the online retailer provides a unique subscription service that matches beers to people’s taste.”

AG Barr reports sales up 8% in First Half: AG Barr, which produces a IRN-BRU, Rubicon, Strathmore and Funkin, has reported revenue for the 26 weeks ended 29 July 2017 is expected to be £136m, an increase of circa 8% on the same period in the prior year (2016: £125.6m). The company stated: “This strong sales performance was delivered against a market backdrop that saw value increase by 3.5% and volume by 2.1% (Source: IRI UK soft drinks market data from 29 January to 18 June 2017). In the first half we increased our investment in support of our innovation and brand growth activity. This, combined with slightly later than anticipated phasing of price increases and generally higher operating costs, including the effect of weaker sterling on input costs, had a moderate impact on margins during the period. We are making good progress with our sugar reduction programme and are confident that we will meet the portfolio target communicated in March 2017. We expect this programme to be completed by the end of the financial year (January 2018) as the reformulated products are phased in across the next six months. While the wider economic environment continues to be uncertain, we have a clear strategy and a strong commercial plan in place, and we remain confident that we will deliver a full year financial performance in line with the board’s expectations.” Chief executive Roger White said: “We have delivered a good first half with strong sales growth supported by our successful innovation programme, particularly IRN-BRU XTRA, which has now been launched in England and Wales, and Rubicon Spring, which is gaining distribution across multiple channels. We are well positioned to deliver against our expectations across the balance of the year.”

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