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Mon 23rd Jan 2023 - Fuller’s, Everyman, delivery and takeaway sales
Fuller’s lfl sales up 20% and almost back to pre-pandemic levels, industrial action costs business estimated £4m: London pub retailer Fuller’s has reported like-for-like sales up 20% for the 43 weeks to 21 January 2023, and at 97% against the same period in FY 2020. Sales for the four-week Christmas and New Year period increased by 38% against a trading period last year that was impacted by covid restrictions and work from home guidance. But due to the impact of the train strikes over the festive season, its sales compared to the same four weeks in 2019 declined by 5%. Since the start of October, the company said it estimates industrial action has reduced its sales by some £4m. The consequent impact on profitability means Fuller’s now expects to report earnings below market expectations for the full year. Simon Emeny, chief executive at Fuller’s, said: “We are encouraged by our underlying sales performance. While it is frustrating that the train strikes have set back our reported sales and earnings, it is reassuring that we are achieving our anticipated sales trajectory in periods unaffected by strikes. While ongoing strike action will dampen sales, demand from customers remains good and we are optimistic that 2023 will deliver further sales growth through a busy calendar of events, and as office workers and tourists continue to return to the capital. We are operating in a high inflation environment, and that continues to impact our operating costs and margins. While some of these costs may be temporary in nature, others – such as the National Living Wage increase – are more permanent, and we are focused on taking action to mitigate these costs wherever we can. Although strike action and the cost-of-living crisis create short-term hurdles to our post-pandemic recovery, we remain confident in the resilience of the pub and the future opportunity for Fuller’s. We are a long-term business and we will continue to invest in our people, in our properties and in providing excellent reasons for our customers to visit. We are delighted to continue to support the development of our 200 apprentices and we look forward to the re-opening of The Admiralty in Trafalgar Square and The Sanctuary House in Westminster in the spring, following transformational investments, as well as opening The Willow, our new pub in the stunning Cotswolds village of Bourton-on-the-Water. These are challenging times, but our fundamental strengths of a talented and experienced team, a high-quality, well invested, predominately freehold estate, and a healthy balance sheet provide the foundations for us to make the right long-term decisions in this period of short-term turbulence. We will next update the market on 15 June 2023, when we announce the company’s full year results for the 53 weeks to 1 April 2023.”

Propel’s The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to launch today: Propel’s The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will launch today (Monday, 23 January), at noon – the first time full profiles of more than 650 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators will be available in one place. It is the fifth major database exclusive to Premium subscribers and will feature more than 165,000 words of content. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database, which will be updated monthly, has taken 16 months to pull together, merging Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. 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 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.

Everyman sees significant rise in lfl revenue and Ebitda, performance in 2023 ‘encouraging’: Cinema operator Everyman has reported a significant rise in like-for-like levels of revenue and Ebitda for the year ending 29 December 2022, and an “encouraging” start to 2023. Group revenue of £79.7m saw an increase of 62.5% versus the prior year (2021: £49.0m). Group Ebitda is ahead of market expectations at approximately £14.5m, an increase of 74.7% (2021: £8.3m). Market share was maintained at 4.5% (2021: 4.5%). Two new venues opened in the year, in Edinburgh and Egham, meaning the group now operates 38 venues with 130 screens (2021: 36 venues and 119 screens). The group said it remains committed to organic expansion but is taking a more measured approach to new site opening. It is opening a new venue in Durham in February 2023, with four further venues expected to open during the year – in Salisbury, Northallerton, Plymouth and Marlow. Average ticket prices of £11.29 were a 2.6% increase versus the prior year (2021: £11.00), while food and beverage spend per head of £9.34 was a 3.0% increase (2021: £9.07). The company said performance in the new financial year has been encouraging. It said while covid-related delays in film production resulted in a reduced slate of film content during 2022, the company was able to exceed trading expectations due to the “unique Everyman experience, which continues to attract existing and new customers”. The directors expect both the volume and quality of new releases to significantly increase in 2023. Due to this, while the directors are cognisant of the difficult macro-economic environment and consumer backdrop, they continue to have significant confidence in the future. Alex Scrimgeour, chief executive of Everyman, said: “The UK’s appetite for film and the Everyman brand remains reassuringly strong. Our proposition is aligned with prevailing long-term consumer trends focused on affordable, high-quality entertainment. While Tom Cruise’s much lauded Top Gun: Maverick marked a symbolic post-covid return to business as usual, there have been other challenges to face along the way caused by global instability and associated inflation. To therefore exceed financial expectations is a credit to the incredible teams in our venues and head office. We will continue to deliver against our expansion strategy in 2023 and, with film production now in a good place, are confident of another year of progress.”

Delivery and takeaway sales still double pre-covid levels despite dip in 2022: Managed restaurant groups’ delivery and takeaway sales ended 2022 at twice their pre-covid level, CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest Hospitality at Home Tracker shows. Combined sales in December 2022 were 104% higher than in December 2019, with deliveries up 238% and takeaway and click-and-collect orders 53% ahead. The figures confirm how lockdowns and the convenience of delivery platforms have transformed the market for restaurants, long after the end of covid restrictions in Britain. Managed groups received just over 24% of their total sales from deliveries and takeaways in December, the Tracker shows. It also highlights the increasing importance of drinks, which now account for 10% of all at-home orders. However, trading has plateaued since late 2021. The Tracker shows total delivery and takeaway sales in 2022 were 2% behind December 2021—the 14th month of year-on-year decline in a row. Karl Chessell, CGA director – hospitality operators and food EMEA, said: “After booming in 2020 and 2021, it was a year of consolidation for the delivery and takeaway sector. A return to eating out and a squeeze on consumer spending both contributed to the plateauing of sales throughout 2022. Nevertheless, with nearly a quarter of all sales now coming from at-home orders, covid has cemented food and drink deliveries in people’s habits. The big challenge for all restaurant groups in 2023 is to protect sales and margins on third-party delivery platforms without compromising eat-in trade.”

EG Group merger plans could be scuppered by government: EG Group, the owner of Leon, could see its plans for a multi-billion-pound merger of its petrol forecourts with those of Asda scuppered by the government. Reports emerged over the weekend that Brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa and TDR Capital are exploring a merger to create a business valued at more than £10bn ($12bn). Talks over merging the two businesses come ahead of a refinancing of EG Group, which has £7bn of debt due in 2025, reports The Times. The combination would create a company more than 581 supermarkets, 700 petrol forecourts and 100 convenience stores in Britain, the newspaper said. However, it reported this morning that Grant Schapps, the business secretary, had “already raised concerns about fuel prices with the Competition and Markets Authority and directly with retailers, and we would consider very carefully anything that might undermine competitive market forces”. In May last year, EG Group, which also owns Scarborough-based bakery chain Cooplands, said foodservice “represents the biggest opportunity globally” for the business. In November, it reported gross profit in its foodservice operations increased 21.3% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2022, to $207m. The company its performance in the US and Australia offset weaker trading here, but that its UK position was strengthened by the continued roll out of Asda On the Move sites across its forecourts, taking the number to 65. A further 14 foodservice outlets opened during the quarter, taking the total to 1,895. For the year to date, foodservice gross profit was up 32% to $586m. Group Ebitda in the quarter was up 9.8% to $470m, and in the year to date, rose by 5.5% to $1,123m. Total revenue was up 28.3% to $8,882m and had increased 29% to $25,005m in the year to date.

Workers returning to the office to save on heating bills: Freezing temperatures this winter have been a large factor in remote workers returning to the office, new data shows, as cash-strapped Brits return to the office to save on heating bills. Research from CV-Library, a jobs and employment site, shows that 20% of professionals changed their working patterns due to the recent cold weather. The survey of 1,700 people found that 40% of those who had changed working pattern said they had gone into the officer “purely to save on heating bills”, the Telegraph reports. CV-Library founder Lee Biggins said: “Britain’s greatest obsession is often reported to be the weather, but its impact on the economy is a serious topic. The knock-on impacts of severe weather aren’t just limited to reduced consumer spending and supply and distribution issues.” The trend for working from home, or hybrid working patterns between the home and office, has been blamed for a post-covid drop in footfall for many city centre-based hospitality businesses. Only last week, Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group director Kunizou Tokumine blamed the “slower than expected return rate of workers and city offices adopting hybrid working models” for “slowing down the pace of central London footfall recovery”, where most of his company’s trading sites are located. Earlier this month, David Abrahamovitch, founder of Grind & Co, which operates 13 cafes, coffee shops and trucks in London, said: “Our larger cafe sites finished the year back trading at pre-pandemic levels. However, our smaller coffee shops in the city continue to see slower footfall with increased working from home.”

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