Fuller’s ‘perfectly placed’ to benefit from return to normal life

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Positive outlook: 'Combined with our strong balance sheet, a cash generative business and the fact that the enduring appeal of the high-quality British pub has never been stronger, we look to the future with confidence,' Fuller's Simon Emeny said
Positive outlook: 'Combined with our strong balance sheet, a cash generative business and the fact that the enduring appeal of the high-quality British pub has never been stronger, we look to the future with confidence,' Fuller's Simon Emeny said

Related tags: Fullers, London, South east, Pubco + head office, Finance

Fuller’s has hailed a resilient performance after seeing its revenues fall by 77% in a year dominated by lockdowns, according to reports by MCA Insight.

The pub company posted a loss for the year of £49.9m, from revenue of £73.4m, for the year ending 27 March 2021.

Fuller’s said the business had proven robust in the face of an extraordinary year, which saw its estate closed for 71% of the period, and social distancing restrictions for 16 months to date.

It experienced high levels of customer demand while sites were open, instilling confidence the company can rebound strongly as restrictions are eased.

Managed like-for-like sales for the 12 weeks to 3 July 2021 were at 76% of 2019 levels, reflecting continued impact of social distancing restrictions on trading, particularly in London.

During the period, the company invested in ten major refurbishment schemes and one new opening – The White Horse, Wembley.

Major refurbishments were completed at The Kingswood Arms, Banstead, and in Wendover with the its seventh Bel & The Dragon site.

More than 90 projects are planned during the year to improve pub gardens and outside spaces.

The estate is now fully reopened, with the tenanted estate 100% occupied, with full commercial rent reintroduced on 26 June 2021.

Hotels and pubs with rooms are benefiting from a strong boom in staycations when allowed to trade.

Digital solutions such as order & pay and enhanced central booking system have been rolled out.

Fuller’s completed a £52m equity issue successfully in April 2021 to strengthen its balance sheet and ensure the company exits the pandemic in a strong position.

Net debt levels are below where they were pre-pandemic, boosted by strong cash generation since reopening.

Chief Executive Simon Emeny said with the end of restrictions just 11 days away, Fuller’s pubs and hotels were “perfectly placed” to benefit from growing consumer confidence and the return of normal life.

“Pubs are social spaces that thrive on spontaneity – a quick pint, staying for a bit longer to chat to someone at the bar or just walking past a beautiful pub garden and deciding to stop for a bite to eat without pre-booking a table. I know that, across our estate, our teams are excited to see those behaviours return.”

He said the team was looking forward to an “incredibly busy season” with a boom in staycations benefiting parts of the estate

Fuller’s will continue to invest in its estate, delivery new projects and “keep a watching brief on appropriate opportunities in the market”.

The company will also look to address challenges around recruitment and supply chain.

“The elements that combine to make Fuller’s such an amazing company have been reiterated many times before and are always worth repeating,” Emeny added. “The foundations are our iconic, predominately freehold, well-invested estate of stunning pubs and hotels, which are geographically southern based and cover city, town, village and rural locations.

“At our heart are the amazing team members and entrepreneurial tenants that make up the Fuller’s family and we are driven by a clear, consistent, long-term strategy. Combined with our strong balance sheet, a cash generative business and the fact that the enduring appeal of the high-quality British pub has never been stronger, we look to the future with confidence.”

Related topics: MA Leaders Club

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