The managed operator of 816 pubs also said bar sales increased by 10.7%, food by 8.2%, gaming machines by 10.0%, hotel room sales increased by 6.2% and total sales have grown by 8.1% in the 14 weeks to 5 November 2023 (Q1 plus one week).
JDW said lfl sales for pubs and restaurants in September had risen by 5.9% according to the Coffer CGA Business Tracker while JDW’s lfls had risen 9.4% during the month and the company has outperformed the tracker for 13 consecutive months.
Interest rate swaps
On financing, JDW said on 22 August 2023, the company disposed of all interest rate swaps in place, receiving £14.8m.
At the same time, the company fixed interest rates in respect of £200m of borrowings from 23 August 2023 to 6 February 2025 at a rate of 5.665% while on 25 September 2023, the company fixed interest rates in respect of £400m of borrowings from 6 February 2025 to 6 February 2028 at a rate of 4.225%.
Interest costs for FY24, excluding IFRS 16 notional interest, are expected to be approximately the same as they were in FY23 (£51m), following the transactions above.
It reported opening one pub at London’s Heathrow airport during the period and had sold four pubs with six leasehold sites had been surrendered to the landlord.
JDW chairman Tim Martin said: “Sales in the first 14 weeks of the financial year have continued the pattern of gradual improvement, which has followed the ending of lockdowns and restrictions.
“Inflationary pressures have eased but energy costs, in particular, remain at far higher levels than pre-pandemic, putting pressure on suppliers and the wider economy.
“The company is increasing investment in existing pubs in the current financial year to approximately £70m (FY23: £46.9m). Areas of investment include new staff rooms, changing rooms, glass racks above bars (to cater for increased usage of brewers’ “branded” glasses) and air conditioning.
“The company currently expects an outcome for the financial year in line with market expectations, and will provide further updates as the year progresses.”