Punch Taverns has seen an improvement in its pubs’ performance in what remains a ‘challenging’ trading environment for the UK’s licensed trade.
In an interim management statement for the 44 weeks to 26 June 2010, Punch said like-for-like sales at its managed pub division had improved more recently, although overall they remain down 2.7 per cent year-on-year.
Describing market conditions as “challenging” it said that like-for-like sales performance at the Punch Pub Company, its tenanted division, reflected “improved trading” from the half-year, also.
In a statement, the group, which will see chief executive Giles Thorley step down in September to be replaced by Ian Dyson, said: “Management actions have had a positive impact in strengthening the estate with a more stable partner base and fewer closed pubs; however profits remain under pressure as lower drinks margin coupled with reduced rental income from returned pubs impacts profit.”
Punch is still paying out £2m a month to support struggling tenants.
The company has raised £266m from the sale of pubs so far this financial year and said it expects to hit £300m by the full year.
Martyn Leek is news editor of BigHospitality's sister title M&C Report.