Robinsons reports record turnover of £75.5m

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Family business: (l-r) Robinsons pub division MD William Robinson and beer division MD Oliver Robinson
Family business: (l-r) Robinsons pub division MD William Robinson and beer division MD Oliver Robinson
North-west-based brewer and operator Robinsons has reported a rise in turnover of 6.1% to a record £75.5m for the year ending 31 December 2018 – up from £71.2m the previous year.

Robinsons, which has a 255-strong estate, also said its profit before tax more than doubled from £3.2m in 2017 to £7.1m in 2018.

It put its success down to record levels of investment in recent years, solid tenanted pub performance and the continued progression of its evolving and growing managed arm.

Sales in its 11-strong managed estate increased by almost a quarter (24.7%) thanks to strategic acquisitions and an increased focus on food.

The pub group added the Seacroft in Treaddur Bay, Holyhead, north Wales, in December 2018, which operates as a managed site.

It also acquired the Four Alls in Caernarfon and the George III in Penmaenpool, near Dolgellau, both north Wales, in 2017.

Meanwhile, despite disposing of eight pubs in 2018, Robinsons’ tenanted arm saw like-for-like net income grow by 4.2% while operating profit increased by 4.9% year on year.

Completed investments

During the financial year, the pub group completed 19 investments in its tenanted estate, costing £2.2m.

Robinsons pub division managing director William Robinson said: “Investment, licensee support and training have been key drivers over the past five years.

“During that time, we have invested £26.7m of capital expenditure and complete 127 refurbishments.

“As a result, our tenanted and managed pubs are in extremely good shape, trading well and are in a strong position to continue to grow sales.”

However, Robinsons did experience a difficult 2018 with a combination of increased business rates, a declining UK cask beer market, the ‘Beast from the East’ and a CO2 crisis.

Beer division managing director Oliver Robinson said: “Last year was challenging and rewarding. We operate in uncertain political and economic times and face increasing costs: rates revaluation, national living wage, food inflation, auto enrolment, beer duty inflation and the potential risks and opportunities Brexit may bring.

“Futhermore, we operate in an era of national decline in cask beer and more customers than ever, abstaining from alcohol.

“Nevertheless, we performed well, both in that year and in preparation for the years to come. This saw us plan for a very successful launch of our own Helles Lager Bier, which is more than 100 pubs already and our own stout.

“The Old Tom stable of beers grew by 11% with great gains in the off-trade and export, which has provided a strong platform for an exiting 2019, in which it celebrates its 120th birthday.”

Drink sales

Oliver went on to outline how the business’ soft drinks and spirits sales were continuing to outperform the market with growth in 2018 at 11% and 15% respectively.

He added: “After the ‘Beast from the East’ and associated appalling weather at the start of the year, the record-breaking temperatures over the summer and England’s successes in the World Cup provided a much-needed boost for our pubs.

“The CO2 shortages across Europe caused issues within our industry and beyond, however I am pleased to report we were able to continue to supply our pubs and customers without significant interruption.”

William Robinson emphasised while the business continued to grow its managed estate, its tenanted pubs were still a key part of the company.

He said: “Our long-term strategy remains unchanged as we focus on developing our people, growing the quality of our pub estate through selective acquisitions and investment schemes, and creating high-quality beers that our customers love to drink.

“We have made a steady start to 2019 and are optimistic about the long-term sustainable success of the business.”

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