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Greene King and Spirit overcome Olympics drag and wet summer

By Luke Nicholls , 04-Sep-2012

Pub groups Greene King and Spirit Pub Company have admitted that the London 2012 Olympics disrupted summer trade, but the poor weather has not been a dampener on business as both firms have reported an increase in sales. 

Suffolk-based brewer Greene King saw like-for-like sales rise by 5.1 per cent over the past 18 weeks, while Spirit’s like-for-likes were up by 4.1 per cent in the quarter to 18 August.

Food sales at Greene King climbed 5.2 per cent, while drink sales rose by 5 per cent and room sales improved 4.9 per cent, compared with the same period of 2011. The group’s Old Speckled Hen and Greene King IPA beer, which was re-launched in April, saw good volume growth and total beer volumes were up 0.4 per cent.

“We believe underlying trading trends across the business have been maintained through the summer, despite the disappointing weather,” Greene King told investors in a stock exchange statement this morning.

“This is encouraging for the rest of the year, although we expect consumer confidence to remain subdued.”

In good Spirits

Meanwhile, Spirit, which also owns the Chef & Brewer, Fayre & Square and Flaming Grill brands, saw a year-on-year sales growth of 4.1 per cent across its managed estate, dragging down the growth rate for the full year to 4.8 per cent.

Financial results for Spirit’s leased estate were not so positive, with like-for-like net income down 5.4 per cent. For the full 52-week period, the Leased estate's LFL net income is down by 4.9 per cent on the previous year. 

Spirit chief executive Mike Tye said the quarter proved a strong finish to the year despite the poor summer weather and the disruption caused by the Olympic Games’.

"We continue to perform in line with expectations and are making good progress towards realising the full potential of our business," he added.

Weathering the storm

Last week, BigHospitality reported that the recent bad weather has had a ‘mixed impact’ on the UK pub sector. While a number of operators are bemoaning the rain, The Orchid Group revealed that it is actually helping to boost sales.

The impact of the weather is evident across the entire UK hospitality industry with recent reports blaming the rain on trading changes in the eating out sector and also UK hotel performance.

In July, Le Bouchon Breton restaurant closed despite a recent rebranding and 'explosion' in business with the directors of the business blaming the recession and the heavy rainfall.

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