Spirit Pub Company has reported a rise in pre-tax profits of 16 per cent in the last year, its first as an independent business, while chief executive Mike Tye has stated his intention for the business to increase performance in its leased venues after 'laying the foundations' for improvement.
In the 52 weeks to 18 August, Spirit's managed pubs, which now number more than 800, delivered like-for-like sales growth of 4.8 per cent helping to deliver a strong increase in earnings for the business in the period.
"I am delighted with the progress we have made during our first year as an independent business," Tye said.
Operating profits in the Staffordshire-based company's managed houses also rose and although like-for-like net income in its leased sites dropped by nearly 5 per cent, Tye said the future looked bright for the non-managed part of the Spirit estate.
"Our leased pubs have performed in line with our expectations this year and we have now laid the foundations from which to drive performance improvement. The consumer environment remains tough but our on-going focus on delivering retail excellence sees us well placed to make further progress in the year ahead."
Since the company was formed in August 2011 following a demerger from Punch Taverns, the focus for Tye and his team has been majorly investing in its managed brands with recent focus on the Flaming Grill, John Barras and Original Pub Company concepts.
More than 50 of the leased sites for the company have currently been disposed of with more expected to follow - currently the firm owns more than 500 pubs under leases.
Spirit, which states its aim as wanting to be the 'best pub company in the UK', said today's financial results showed its managed pubs continue to deliver greater profit margins and outperform market competitors.
"Profit before tax is up 16 per cent, earnings per share are up 21 per cent and we have commenced the payment of dividends. We have delivered
further strong growth in managed sales through continued investment in our brands, estate, infrastructure and people while cost control has been robust in the face of inflationary pressures, enabling continued expansion of managed margin," Tye revealed.
Estate expansion is expected to continue after the current investment programme concludes - the business opened its 100th John Barras pub earlier this month and declared its intention to reach 200 venues under the brand soon.