The operator of 44 sites across south England and Wales also recorded a 1.6% increase in like-for-like sales over the same period, the majority of which was driven by price increases implemented towards the end of the year as well as a strong festive period – which saw like-for-like sales increase by 7% over a six-week period ending 6 January.
Moreover, as reported by The Morning Advertiser, the company saw strong trading off the back of the summer’s heatwave and World Cup, with the 26-week period ending 1 July yielding a 24% increase in sales.
City Pub Company, which is currently refurbishing three large sites in west London, Reading and Cambridge, will have 48 trading pubs and approximately 100 letting rooms by the end of 2019.
This includes the recent acquisitions of Chapel 1877 – a freehold site in central Cardiff acquired in December 2018 for a cash consideration of £2.2m – in addition to freehold sites in Norwich and Exeter for a total of roughly £3m.
The past 12 months also saw City Pub Group open its first all-vegan venue, Tell Your Friends in Parsons Green, west London, fronted by Clive Watson’s daughters Made in Chelsea’s Lucy and Tiffany Watson.
The refurbishment costs of these two sites is expected to be in excess of £1m.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser in April 2018, the City Pub Group aims to be operating approximately 65 sites by mid 2021.
At the end of 2018, City Pub Group’s net debt stood at £10.5m. The company has total borrowing facilities of £30m, which it intends to renegotiate over the coming year according to the latest trading statement.
This will be used to fund its ambitious acquisition programme and make the most of opportunities in a less competitive marketplace, according to the latest statement.
Estate in ‘great shape’
Discussing the latest results, Clive Watson, executive chairman of The City Pub Group, commented: “Trading was very encouraging over the festive period and throughout 2018, particularly post-Easter.
“We have grown very rapidly over the past two years, performed well and our new sites are showing their potential.
“Our low gearing puts us in an enviable position to take advantage of attractive acquisition opportunities that present themselves.
“If we enter a period of uncertainty caused by Brexit, there is much we can continue to achieve organically.
“Our estate is in great shape; well invested and trading well with considerable upside potential, including the additional benefit of the quality of our earnings increasing as we invest and grow our accommodation business, which delivers an incremental income stream.”
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