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Tue 15th Aug 2023 - Hall & Woodhouse reports trading in 2023 ‘very encouraging’ with strong like-for-like sales growth across estate
Hall & Woodhouse reports trading in 2023 ‘very encouraging’ with strong like-for-like sales growth across estate: Dorset brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has said trading in 2023 is “very encouraging”, with strong like-for-like sales growth across its estate. The update, from chairman Anthony Woodhouse, came as the business reported its results for the year ending 28 January 2023. “Apart from a heavily weather affected July, trading since the year-end has been very encouraging, with strong like-for-like sales growth across the estate,” he said. “It is clear that the divergence in performance between well invested pubs with the right offer and correct team levels, and those not in that position, is becoming increasingly marked.” For the year ending 28 January 2023, Hall & Woodhouse reported an increase in profits, but also that they remained “well below” pre-pandemic levels due to cost increases. It reported underlying profit before tax recovered to £4.4m (2022: £1.6m), which compares with £5.9m in the last full year before covid, ending 25 January 2020. Total profit before tax was £10.4m (2022: £11.2m), as it again benefited from profits on disposal of non-strategic assets and the marking to market of its interest rate swaps. Turnover was up from £83,407,000 in 2022 to £109m (2020: £116,569,000). Net debt rose to £55.7m (2022: £45.3m) as it completed the purchase of three new managed houses (The Red Barn, Woolacombe; The Wiremill, Lingfield; and The Royal Lion, Lyme Regis) as well as opening The Frog in Mindenhurst and maintaining its investment across its managed house and business partner estate. “Our post pandemic plan was to return to close to normal levels of trading and profitability but, as I warned last year, the terrible war in Ukraine had a profound effect on the economy, with rapid inflation not seen since the 1980s,” Woodhouse added. “Although revenue levels were encouraging, margins were squeezed as costs and wages rose at a greater pace than we were able to pass on to our guests and customers. In this environment, the profit outturn was a creditable performance, although still well below pre-pandemic levels. Our managed house business, where our results are more operationally geared to the volatile external environment, suffered the brunt of the margin squeeze. Business partnerships had a solid year performing as expected, showing the robustness of this business model. We have a high quality estate with high quality business partners, with who we genuinely work in partnership. We continued to reap the benefits of our well established Badger and Rio brands and our world class brewing operation. Although off-trade volumes fell as expected as the on-trade reopened, this was offset by the recovery in trade volumes and new contract and own label business. In challenging times, it becomes clear whether organisations are committed to their purpose and values. Last year, the company demonstrated its commitment clearly. Two examples among many that I would highlight are the continued adherence to paying the Real Living Wage as a minimum, and the donating and raising more than £600,000 to local good causes. We were honoured to receive the PubAid Corporate Community Hero Award at the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group Awards. My thanks as always to [managing director] Matt Kearsey and the team for their skill, relentless drive and boundless enthusiasm as they navigate these turbulent times while ensuring the company is in the best possible shape to prosper in the long term for the benefit of all stakeholders.” Hall & Woodhouse features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, the latest edition of which was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (11 August). Its turnover of £109m for the year ending 28 January 2023 is the 72nd highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.

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