Shepherd Neame ‘actively pursuing growth’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Trading update: Shepherd Neame boss Jonathan Neame said the company remained optimistic in spite of external economic headwinds
Trading update: Shepherd Neame boss Jonathan Neame said the company remained optimistic in spite of external economic headwinds

Related tags Finance Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased Beer

Operator and brewer Shepherd Neame has revealed the business had emerged from the pandemic in a strong position and is actively pursuing opportunities again to invest and grow.

The company, which has almost 300 pubs in Kent and the south east of England, reported strong cash generation and said overall trading for the 52 weeks to 25 June 2022 was in line with expectation.

Outlet like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 25 June were up by 13% against 2021, which compared directly with the period indoor trading was permitted again on 17 May 2021.

However, outlet like-for-like retail sales for the same six-week period against 2019 figures were down by 4.1%.

Income levels in its tenanted estate have continued to increase compared to 2021 although volumes were lower than pre-pandemic figures.

Mitigating rises

Sales volumes of all beer and Shepherd Neame cider brewed and packaged by the company in all channels for the six weeks to 25 June 2022 against 2021 were up slightly (2%) but compared to the same period in 2019, were down by 3%.

The update highlighted the current inflationary environment​ was challenging and cited high costs in utility, energy and supply chain.

However, Shepherd Neame is mitigating through long-term fixed price contracts for some items, menu management​ and price increases to soften the impact.

The company is also planning to invest more in areas such as property, marketing and people development to help its long-term strength.

Net debt has reduced in the past year and since its peak in December 2020, total indebtedness fell from £95.6m to £75.3m – the lowest level since 2018.

Jonathon Swaine joined the company in June 2022​ as managing director of its pub business and was appointed to the board.

External economic headwinds

Shepheard Neame CEO Jonathan Neame said: “Since Covid restrictions have been lifted, we have been encouraged by levels of demand and are enjoying strong performance across our business.

“In spite of external economic headwinds, we remain optimistic we will continue to see similar levels of demand across the summer.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jonathon Swaine to the team at a time when we are recommencing investment in our pub estate.

“We are mindful of the many challenges ahead but the business and our teams have demonstrated extraordinary levels of resilience in the past two years and we have no doubt we have the skills and platform to find opportunities to grow and develop in the future.”

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