The 5,000 strong pubco estimates that last year’s World Cup was worth between 1% and 2% to the net income performance in the fourth quarter of the 2010 financial year.
Fourth quarter net income was down 5.0% (-5.2% for the full 52 weeks), while within the “core estate” of just under 3,000 pubs like-for-like net income was down 2.4% (-2.1% 52 weeks) in the quarter to 20 August.
Average net income per pub was up +0.9% for the full 52 weeks. The company said its “Pathway to Partnership” programme continues to deliver operational benefits with the underlying rate of like-for-like net income (stripping out the effect of the 2010 World Cup) maintaining momentum into the fourth quarter.
Its ongoing disposal programme, together with improved like-for-like trends, has resulted in growth in average net income per pub of 0.9% for the year.
Punch reported that regional trends in trading reflect those reported elsewhere in the sector with continued strength in London and the south east compared to other regions.
It added: “Our continuing programme of investment has seen us complete 500 pub renovations this year, achieving good returns and increasing food participation in the core estate.
“Furthermore, a renewed focus on Cask Ale has seen this category outperform in wet sales with circa 1,000 pubs now members of our Finest Cask Scheme and several hundred Punch pubs featured in the CAMRA Good Pub Guide.
“The Punch Buying Club has also supported over 400 beer festivals in Punch pubs this year.”
A total of 398 pubs have been sold in the year generating disposal proceeds of approximately £108m, broadly in line with book value.
The rate of disposals increased in the fourth quarter as more pubs were added to the turnaround division as a result of the previously announced strategic review.
There are 2,951 pubs in the Core division, and 2,053 pubs in the Turnaround division.
Roger Whiteside, Punch Taverns chief executive, said: “Punch is now a dedicated high quality leased and tenanted pub business. Having completed the demerger, we have a clear operational and strategic plan and we will build on the positive momentum delivered throughout this year.
“Despite the challenging UK consumer environment we are on track to meet our expectations for the full year.
“I would like to thank our team at Punch together with our tenants and leaseholders for their hard work and commitment during this period of transition for the business.”