In its report for the 43 weeks to 22 January 2022, the company, which also operates hotels, said after full reopening on 19 July 2021, it had delivered a steadily improving trading performance, with managed like-for-like sales reaching 90% of 2019 levels, prior to the emergence of Omicron in early December.
It added the enhanced Covid restrictions introduced by the Government in response to Covid variant, including the guidance to work from home, impacted trade during the festive period.
As office Christmas parties were cancelled and City workers stayed at home, managed like-for-like sales in the four weeks to 1 January 2022 slumped to 72% of 2019 levels.
Improving trading position
But since the new year, the group has seen an improving trading position. In the 43 weeks to 22 January 2022, its managed like-for-like sales have traded at 81% of pre-pandemic levels.
Following the Government’s announcement to remove the working from home guidance last week, and the lifting of other restrictions in England, Fuller’s has gained further momentum as consumer confidence has returned.
Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said: “We are seeing an improvement in trade and expect that to quicken further now that the Government has lifted Covid restrictions.
“We saw sales rise steadily in the City after previous lockdowns and recent trading patterns suggest there is a strong desire among many workers to return to office working.”
International tourists rise
He continued: “In addition, we expect to see a rise in the number of international tourists, which will benefit our London pubs and those in other tourist destinations.
“I am confident about the future, especially as we move towards business as usual and an end to Government intervention. Our estate of iconic, well-located pubs is in great shape, and we have a busy pipeline of investments due to complete during the last quarter of the financial year.”
Fuller’s will report its full year results for the 52 weeks to 26 March 2022, on 9 June 2022.