Hall & Woodhouse managing director Anthony Woodhouse has told M&C Allegra Report that the company is focused on growing accommodation income, as it reports profit growth in excess of 10% for the third consecutive year.
The company saw total turnover increase by 6.4% to £109.5m for the year to 31 January, with profit before tax up 10.5% to £7.8m and operating profit before exceptional items up by 9.7% to £9.9m. The group currently operates 53 managed and 142 tenanted pubs.
Woodhouse said he was “quietly confident” that this financial year would again show a strong performance.
He said: “The results should really be seen in the light of our performance over the last four or five years in which we have made real progress. The profitability of our partners’ pubs have more than doubled in that time.
“Food continues to dominate sales growth but we are also seeing strong sales on the drinks side. Accommodation is an area where we see scope to grow sales. We are currently working on a joint venture with the Duchy of Cornwall to create 20 bedrooms at a new inn in Poundbury and that is a very exciting opportunity. There are opportunities across our estate to add rooms.”
Woodhouse said growth would come across both the tenanted and managed arms but that there was “no drive for a rapid expansion”.
On the challenges ahead, Woodhouse said: “The key ones are driving the guest experience and also the increased competition in the market. In recent years we have seen a lot of aggressive rollouts of brands backed by private equity which has had impacts across the market.”
On the introduction of legislation governing the relationship between pubcos and tenants he said: “We would like to think this won’t affect us because not only are we under the threshold but we have worked hard to establish strong working relationships with our partners. However, as with intervention by Government into any sector, it is the unintended consequences that are of concern.”