Young's delivered a sparkling set of full-year results today, with pre-tax profits up 18.5% (post exceptionals) to £12 million and managed house sales up 18% following substantial investment.
Now purely focused on its 216 pubs, following the deal with Charles Wells, the strong performance has continued in the past eight weeks since the March year-end with sales up 25% and like-for-likes up 9.6%.
Turnover for the year rose 2.2% to £127 million, with managed sales hitting £99 million. Like for likes here were up 10.5%.
Food sales were a major contributor last year. They rose 33% in the managed estate and now comprise 23% of managed house sales.
Shareholders will be toasting the success of the new-look Young's.
Their dividends are to rise 50%, a £4.5 million payout from the board.
Returns from Young's 40% share in the Wells & Youngs brewing joint venture were modest - £103,000 in the past six months but this mainly reflects heavy start-up investment costs and finance charges.
The benefits of enhanced purchasing through the joint venture have been more immediately obvious.
Improved terms have added £1.5 million of net profit to the bottom line.
Young's is taking a cautious line on the smoking ban, saying there may be "some initial downside."
One in eight of its pubs is landlocked, of which 9 are tenancies. But sales are up in the non-smoking managed houses that have been refurbed in the past six months.
In total 25% of the managed estate has now been converted and overall £12million has been spent on outside areas.
Chief executive Stephen Goodyear (pictured) said: "Young's has been transformed over the past year.
"The substantial changes we have made to the business, together with the improving returns we are getting from ongoing investment in our estate, are clearly evident in our underlying results, particularly in our second half trading.
"Whilst there are clearly near term risks for our industry, from the smoking ban and pressures on consumer spending, we believe we are well prepared to face these challenges. Young's is a business in very good shape. We have a strong customer offering, a great team and a clear strategy for growth.
"We face the future with considerable confidence."