City Pub Group like-for-like sales up 5% on 2019

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Growth reflects quality on offer: City Pub Group executive chairman Clive Watson
Growth reflects quality on offer: City Pub Group executive chairman Clive Watson

Related tags: Finance, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office, Property

Multiple operator City Pub Group has said its like-for-like sales have continued to strengthen faster than predicted as its May 2022 figures are 5% ahead of the same period in 2019.

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The business, which owns and operates 42 pubs across southern England and Wales and has two more sites in development, said trade during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations was “particularly strong” with lfl sales up above 20% versus the same week in 2019.

In its annual general meeting, City Pub Group explained it had recently opened the Oyster House in Mumbles and the Tivoli in Cambridge after the pandemic stalled progress. A report from the business stated: “We are confident that, in time, they will be among our top-performing assets within the estate.

Benefiting from investments

The report continued: “We are also benefiting from investments where we have either refurbished or achieved capacity gains, such as the Hoste and the Cliftonville Hotel. In addition, our new all-day trading concept in Bury St Edmunds, Damson and Wilde, is expected to open next week. Progress is being made on our remaining development at the Nest in Bath which is anticipated to open in August.”

The company added it is looking for ways to mitigate increasing costs with a particular focus on labour scheduling to maximise sales and efficiency, controlled energy use and procurement and menu evaluation.

Meanwhile, it has strong sales momentum across the group following three months of restriction-free trading and is eyeing promotion of national and local events, which are translating into strong forward bookings, as an example of improving performance in the second half of the year.

Acquisitions possible

The business also said its low net debt position will allow it to flex quickly in terms of making acquisitions and remains on track to meet our expectations for the year.

City Pub Group executive chairman Clive Watson said: “We continue to see our sales growth reflecting the quality of our pubs and customer offering. With a strong foundation to build on and momentum that has been created through investment in – and opening of – our development sites, we look forward to an uninterrupted summer’s trading for the first time in two years.

“Despite the macro economic headwinds, recent openings, tight cost control and a low net debt position leave us well positioned to continue to develop our business both organically and through selective high-quality acquisitions during the rest of the year as opportunities arise.”

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