‘Beast from the East’ hits Greene King like-for-like sales

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Frost bitten: Greene King partly blamed poor weather for trading deficits
Frost bitten: Greene King partly blamed poor weather for trading deficits
Greene King’s pre-close trading statement revealed that harsh weather conditions contributed to a drop in like-for-like sales over the 49 weeks to 8 April.

Greene King’s like-for-like sales for the 49 weeks to 8 April fell by 1.8% with the weather over the past 12 weeks having an adverse effect on trading, especially of food-led pubs.

Excluding the impact of the Beast from the East, like-for-like sales were down 1.2%.

At the time of writing morning trading showed a positive response from the market, with Greene King's share price increasing by 10%.

The statement also revealed Greene King will complete a phasing out of family-focused pub brand Fayre & Square by the end of the financial year as part of a bid to reposition its business.

The Bury St Edmunds-based brewer and operator, which manages almost 3,000 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, opened nine new pubs over the course of the year and invested core and brand conversion capital expenditure in 292 sites.

Greene King announced that the £10m investment made in the second half of the year is starting to positively affect trading despite challenging market conditions.

Trading during the Easter period was strong, with like-for-like sales up by 2.8% versus Easter weekend 2017. This was helped by a strong selection of sporting fixtures including Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight boxing title unification bout against New Zealand’s Joseph Parker.

After 48 weeks, like-for-like net profit in Greene King Pub Partners was down 0.3% while own-brewed volumes in brewing and brands were down 0.7%, ahead of the UK ale market, which dropped by 3.1%.

The statement read: “We remain on track to deliver targeted cost savings of £40-45m, we will have spent c£160m in the full year in ensuring our estate remains well invested and our disposal proceeds are likely to be ahead of expectations at c£120m following the sale of three high-value leasehold pubs.”

It is expected that full-year profit before tax and exceptionals will be in the range of £240-245m.

The statement read: “With our high-quality portfolio of pubs, excellent team, strong balance sheet and sustainable dividend, we remain well placed to withstand the external market challenges and deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

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