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Pub and bar operators report positive trading over Christmas

By Gurjit Degun , 08-Jan-2013
Last updated on 08-Jan-2013 at 10:47 GMT2013-01-08T10:47:26Z

Be At One: it saw like-for-like sales grow 12% for the five weeks of December
Be At One: it saw like-for-like sales grow 12% for the five weeks of December

Pub and bar operators have reported positive trading over the festive period, with London-based businesses quoting like-for-like increases of up to 13%.

Grand Union Group, the London-based operator, re-ported a 13% rise in like-for-like sales in December. Sales for the month for the eight-strong company reached £715,000 net, with like-for-like food sales up 25%.

“This was mainly driven by increased pre-orders of corporate groups in our Paddington and Farringdon sites, which recorded 24% and 21% like-for-like growth respectively,” said marketing manager Richard Raven. “New Year’s Eve proved to be equally popular as last year, with pre-booked ticket sales increasing by 12% on 2011.”

London cocktail bar chain Be At One co-founder Steve Locke added: “We had a fantastic Christmas with like-for-like sales growth of 12% for the five weeks of December. The figure does not include Guildhall, which has exploded out of the traps. The City sites have all been particularly strong over the festive season.”

Glendola Leisure, also based in London, took £100,000 more in functions over the festive season.

However managing director Alex Salussolia said it was phased over a five-week period, compared to a four-week period in the previous year. “If we look over a five-week period to this week, we are running about 8% up. The week between Christmas and New Year was poor.”

Sales were up by 6% for ETM Group in December on the same period last year. Co-founder of the London sites Ed Martin said there were “two bites of the cherry” to be had.

“There were two full sets of Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, so there were two big lots of corporate bookings,” he explained.

Outside the capital, Amber Taverns managing director James Baer said: “It was acceptable rather than exceptional. The best day for us over the whole period was Friday 21, ‘mad Friday’.

“We were generally pleased. We are comfortably ahead of where we had budgeted to be.” New Year’s Eve for the c80-strong company was “as good as ‘mad Friday’”.

William Lees-Jones, managing director of the Manchester-based brewer and pub operator JW Lees, added: “Christmas week was very, very busy, which made up for the previous week being not quite so busy. We’ve had a number of sites that have broken different records.”

Peach Pub Company co-founder Lee Cash said that the timings of the period meant the first week of the festive period was a bit quieter than normal, but the second and third weeks were busier.

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