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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 24th Feb 2022 - Update: AB InBev FY results, Stonegate, Ikea and Gousto
AB InBev delivered over 15% top-line growth in FY21: AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has announced that its profit would increase in 2022, in line with its medium-term growth range, after ending 2021 with stronger results than expected. The maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois said its Ebitda would rise by between 4% and 8% this year, with revenue expanding by a higher percentage. The Belgium-based brewer said this would be based on a combination of both higher volumes and prices, noting that the forecast reflected its current view of the covid-19 pandemic. The company said: “We grew top-line by 15.6% in FY21, comprised of a mix of 9.6% volume and 5.5% revenue per hl growth, driven by premiumisation and revenue management initiatives. Ebitda grew by 11.8%, at the top-end of our 2021 outlook, as top-line growth was partially offset by anticipated transactional FX and commodity headwinds, higher SG&A due primarily to higher variable compensation accruals and elevated supply chain costs.” The company reported a 5% like-for-like increase in fourth-quarter Ebitda to $4.88bn after it sold more beer and at higher prices. For 2021 as a whole, Ebitda was up 11.8%, at the top end of the company’s previous outlook of 10-12%. The company said that in Q4 2021 total volumes grew by 3.6%, with own beer volumes up by 3.4% and non-beer volumes up by 3.8%. In FY21, total volumes grew by 9.6% with own beer volumes up by 9.7% and non-beer volumes up by 8.7%. Revenue increased by 12.1% in the final quarter of the year with revenue per hl growth of 8.1% and by 15.6% in FY21 with revenue per hl growth of 5.5%, including: 23.5% increase in combined revenues of its global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, outside of their respective home markets in 4Q21, and 22.9% in FY21. The company said that over 50% of its revenue now came through B2B digital platforms. Brian Perkins, president for UK and Ireland, Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “Budweiser Brewing Group navigated the events of 2021 with expertise and agility to achieve a very strong full year performance exceeding our ambitious targets. This year, we saw value and volume growth vs 2019 due to the strength of our portfolio of brands, including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Camden Hells and Corona in the off-trade. We have seen demand for our premium portfolio grow throughout 2021, reflecting the acceleration of consumer trends; last year saw premium lager and world beer contribute the most absolute growth to the overall beer category. We invested at scale in the UK’s hospitality sector and are proud to have announced a 20-year partnership with JD Wetherspoon, as Budweiser Brewing Group became the Lead Brewer across the estate. We know that with great partnerships, we can go further, and this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting the hospitality sector’s recovery and long-term growth.”

One day to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, 49 business being added: A total of 49 new multi-site companies, operating 227 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released tomorrow, Friday, 25 February, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of expanding hotel companies, regional pub and restaurant operators and several brands set for UK expansion. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,750-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 seventh edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 4 March, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The seventh edition also includes a 15,000-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. 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Stonegate charged over death of Durham student Olivia Burt: Britain’s biggest pub chain has been charged with Health and Safety offences following the death of a Durham University student outside a nightclub in 2018. The Sun reports that Olivia Burt, 20, who was in the first year of a Life Sciences degree, was crushed when a metal barrier collapsed as she and her friends were queuing outside the Missoula venue in the centre of Durham. In 2020, the Crown Prosecution Service announced there was insufficient evidence to bring gross negligence and corporate manslaughter charges in connection with her death. But Durham County Council has now announced it has brought Health and Safety charges against the Stonegate Pub Company Limited, which owns the Missoula Nightclub. Durham County Council’s head of community protection, Joanne Waller, acknowledged the action but was unable to offer further details. She said: “We can confirm we have served a summons on Stonegate Pub Company for four charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, in relation to matters dating from February 2017 to February 2018. While proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.” Welcoming the decision Miss Burt’s parents, Nigel and Paula Burt said: “Four long years after Olivia’s death, we now await the outcome of the health and safety prosecution. We do not understand how our only child died on a night out with friends.” An inquest into Miss Burt’s death has now been stayed to allow the health and safety prosecution to take place.

Ikea assembles smaller high street store for ‘modern shoppers’: After three decades of encouraging shoppers to navigate vast edge-of-town warehouses of flat-pack furniture, Ikea is opening a high street shop, in Hammersmith, west London. The Times reports the Swedish furnishings giant said that the new 4,600 sq m shop, which is about a fifth of the size of its usual “blue box” stores, would make Ikea more accessible to modern shoppers. The retailer is planning to spend £1bn over the next three years in London and will open its second store in the former Topshop building on Oxford Street in 2023. The Hammersmith shop, which has been chosen because of its proximity to bus and Tube stations, will also feature a Swedish deli to cater to demand for its meatballs. Ikea previously opened two “planning studios” in Bromley, south London, and Tottenham Court Road for shoppers to design kitchens and bathrooms and has previously tested small trial shops in Norwich and Aberdeen, but closed them. Peter Jelkeby, UK and Ireland country retail manager, said that Ikea would learn from the new opening and “develop plans for other city centre locations as well as the wider UK and Ireland, to bring our offer even closer”. He said supply chain difficulties were easing but confirmed that Ikea still expected prices to rise by 9% this year.

Investors have a big appetite for Gousto: Gousto, a UK meal-kit box service, has raised a further $230m a month after sealing its unicorn status with a $100m placing. The Times reports the London-based company has completed a secondary placement led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and backed by Fidelity International, Grosvenor Food & AgTech and Railpen, formerly known as the Railway Pensions scheme. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 invests in start-ups that are expected to float and had already invested $100m in Gousto in January, which valued the company at $1.7bn. Gousto, which was founded by Timo Boldt in London in 2012, doubled sales during the pandemic as people were forced to eat at home during lockdowns. Gousto meals are delivered weekly with ingredients portioned out alongside recipes, which include Sri Lankan-style coconut dal and a healthy range devised in collaboration with celebrity fitness trainer Joe Wicks. However, while revenues doubled to £189m in 2020, the business made a pre-tax profit of just £1.1m in 2020 compared to a loss of £14.5m a year earlier. Boldt said: “I’m thrilled that following on from their initial investment, SoftBank has increased its stake, which speaks volumes for where they see the business heading. All four investors recognise the growth that Gousto has achieved and the opportunities ahead… as we embark on our next stage of growth and accelerate towards our goal to become the UK’s most loved way to eat dinner.”

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