Trading update

We released our latest trading statement this morning. We’ve grown sales across our pub and beer businesses, and we’ve made good progress on reducing our debt.

Overall, we’ve achieved sales growth over the last 42 weeks. This is despite weaker sales in the last 16 weeks, reflecting strong trading in the same period last year with the World Cup and an unusually hot summer. Here are the other highlights from today’s trading update:

  • Like-for-like managed and franchised pub sales increased by 0.5%.
  • In Destination and Premium, like-for-like sales were 0.1% ahead of last year.
  • In Taverns, like-for-like sales were 1.1% ahead of last year.
  • Operating margin was in line with expectations.
  • In Beer Company, we continued to outperform the market and volumes were in line with last year (volume performance over the last 16 weeks reflects weaker lager sales in the off-trade).
  • We’ve made good progress on our target to reduce net debt by £200 million in 2020-2023.
  • We’re on track to hit our 2019 cash flow and debt targets.
  • We’re accelerating our debt reduction by deferring the new-build investment planned for the next three years and reallocating some of the investment into our existing estate, which is generating higher returns.

CEO Ralph said: “We’ve achieved modest growth during the 42 weeks, continuing the long-term positive like-for-like sales trend despite May and June being hampered by relatively poor weather.

“Having made good progress with our cash generation and debt reduction plans, we’ve decided to accelerate our efforts and defer our remaining new-build plans to reallocate £20-30 million of the £70 million new-build capex and drive higher returns from our existing estate.”

Read the full statement:


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