Accommodation trade boosts Liberation’s record results

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Trading results: Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Liberation Group, which reported positive news in its update
Trading results: Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Liberation Group, which reported positive news in its update

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Liberation Group Finance Events Food Beer

South west-based pub firm Liberation Group has reported record sales in accommodation in its latest results

The trading update, which covered 21 May to 3 September revealed the company saw its highest ever single week of revenue during August.

Total like-for-like sales across its managed pub division was up 6.3% against 2021 and almost a third (30%) compared to two years ago.

Furthermore, its Jersey businesses saw a rise of 6.6% and Guernsey of 16.7% in the 16-week period.

Drinks sales across the firm were up by 14.2% and while food was down by 1.6% overall, the company put this down to the variance in VAT rates year on year in the UK.

Mitigating costs

While it welcomed the Government help on energy bills, Liberation also revealed even with this, its utility costs will double in October and called for further information alongside actions to reduce VAT and the suspension of business rates.

However, the business also stated it had not been immune to rising costs but had been mitigating this as best it could.

This included battling increasing food costs by finding alternative products and developing new menus and dishes, reducing its exposure to products such as oil where there has been surges in prices.

The company has also used its scale and expertise to its advantage to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

When it comes to staffing, it claimed it was in a better place now than it was last year in terms of recruitment and retention.

Staffing strategy

Liberation prides itself on developing a raft of benefits for team members and said it was seeing strong levels of engagement and pride.

Its beer arm Butcombe saw record results in August, driven by significant performance in the free trade.

Overall beer volumes increased by 9.5% compared to the previous year, which was spearheaded by strong demand for its keg ales and lagers while it stated its cask offering Butcombe Original was set to achieve top 10 status this year within the segment.

The company’s strategy has been focused on improving customer experience and has been building on its app with the launch of a new web-based order and pay capability alongside investment in its websites that has resulted in a rise in traffic.

Looking ahead, the company was optimistic about the future, despite ongoing headwinds for the sector.

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