Key trading days, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, saw Stonegate’s sales across its 735 wet-led pubs and bars increase by 8.3% on average – with the two weeks from 17 December yielding average year-on-year increases of 12%.
The results build upon the company’s strong festive trading in 2017, which saw Stonegate’s year-on-year sales increase by 5.5%, and follow a 17.8% uplift in pre-bookings in 2018.
Stonegate’s chief executive Simon Longbottom commented: “I am delighted to report a strong festive trading period for Stonegate – crowning another year of significant progress for the business.
“Our like-for-like sales have increased again, driven by our multi-format strategy, relentless focus on customer service and bolstering our market share in our local markets.
“Our success shows that there is value in a drinks-led, high street focused strategy.
“Encouragingly, all of our trading formats and regions performed well and it was particularly pleasing to see the sites and brands we acquired in 2018 contributing to this.
“Our investment in our pre-booking facilities resulted in a double-digit increase in like-for-like bookings enabling us to maximise the trading opportunity from key festive events, such as New Year’s Eve and Boxing Day football.
“We have entered 2019 with positive momentum.”
Among Stonegate’s highlights in 2018 were the acquisition of Be At One and a further 15 sites from Novus Leisure in July, as well as recording a like-for-like sales increase of 6.1% in Q3 off the back of the summer’s heatwave and World Cup.