Fuller’s ‘being careful about price increases’

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Business update: Fuller's boss Simon Emeny laid out the company's plans in the coming months
Business update: Fuller's boss Simon Emeny laid out the company's plans in the coming months

Related tags: Fullers, Managed pubs, Tenanted + leased, Pubco

Fuller’s is concentrating on getting higher footfall, in a bid to avoid increasing prices, CEO Simon Emeny told The Morning Advertiser.

The company recently revealed its trading update​, which reported revenue up from £45.6m to £116.3m compared to the previous year.

On the ongoing issues with price rises, Emeny outlined how the business is dealing with the influx of increases.

Emeny added: “We’ve had inflation in the country before, and it's only 10 years ago that inflation was running at 5%. I suspect a lot of the inflationary pressures will just be short term, as the world economy restarts.

“We are managing the cost base. The majority of our energy contracts are fixed for this year. Our big beer supply contracts are long-term contracts so we're quite well protected there.

“But at the moment, what we want to do is get more people into our pubs so we're being quite careful about price increases and avoiding any substantial rises for that reason and playing the long term view really, and the time to really look at inflation will be will be in the spring time.”

Positive momentum

Off the back of the results, Emeny outlined what the business is planning in the months ahead when it comes to investment.

He said: “Firstly, the recovery on sales with our heavy weighting to central London, in particular, the city, the train stations, we always felt that our recovery would be slightly slower and later and that's proved to be the point.

“The really pleasing thing for us is the momentum we've now got, [with] people back in offices, London is back to life and international tourism is reopened.

“We've definitely got a growing sales momentum, for the remainder of this financial year for us. We've got a lot of work that we're doing at the moment. Working on our winterization programmes, we've got about 70 different schemes that would seem to enhance the outside areas of our pubs for the autumn and the winter.

“We've got some major developments going on at the moment, including a couple of lovely pubs in Southampton and a new Bell and the Dragon in Westerham, Kent.”

Furthermore, Emeny highlighted the company’s plan to improve its environmental credentials and technology outlook.

Company plans

He added: “We've got our life to get away CSG programme, which we've appointed a first ever head of sustainability to lead and we've got our digital transformation programme, which is going to revolve around new websites, CRM links and a new booking engine.

“In addition to that, we've got a new central finance system launching on Monday so for the remainder of this financial year, it is all systems go for us, supporting the business and also making sure we're putting some big change projects in that will set for us that well for the future and for the certainly for the next financial year.”

Fuller’s has not been immune to the recruitment challenges felt by operators across the sector and Emeny highlighted this as being the top issue now and into the future.

“There's no doubt in the short term and anybody that says they haven't got staffing challenges, they're simply lying,” he said.

“The whole industry would have feared the results of the 2016 referendum. Covid and the various lockdowns have accelerated that challenge.

“Certainly, in the short term, the industry's biggest challenge, and this applies to everybody, is going to be around labour. Increasingly, we need to work for the long term as a sector so we're not getting much support from Government to encourage young adults the hospitality sector is really rewarding and a financially rewarding career.

“It's great fun, it gives great opportunities for young people and that's so that's what my biggest concern in the short term is, labour and I think anybody else in the sector will say the same thing.”

Related topics: Other operators

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