Greene King has issued a pre-close trading statement for the last 12 months.
“Pub Company like-for-like (LFL) sales for the 49 weeks to 8th April were -1.8%. The weather over the last 12 weeks impacted trading, particularly in our destination food-led pubs, and on an underlying basis, excluding the impact of snow, LFL sales in the year-t0-date were -1.2%. Both drink and accommodation LFL sales were ahead of last year.
Trading over Easter was strong with LFL sales up 2.8% against the Easter weekend last year, helped by strong sporting fixtures, especially football and boxing. The targeted £10m investment we made in the second half of the year to strengthen our value for money, customer service and quality is starting to positively impact on trading, despite the continued challenging market backdrop.
We continue to reposition Pub Company to drive growth going forward; we will complete the exit from Fayre & Square by the financial year end; we opened nine new pubs over the year; and we invested core and brand conversion capex in 292 pubs. After 48 weeks, LFL net profit in Pub Partners was -0.3% while own-brewed volumes in Brewing & Brands were -0.7%, ahead of the UK ale market* at -3.1%.
We remain on track to deliver targeted cost savings of £40-45m, we will have spent c. £160m in the full year in ensuring our estate remains well invested and our disposal proceeds are likely to be ahead of expectations at c. £120m following the sale of three high value leasehold pubs.
As a result, we expect full year profit before tax and exceptionals to be in the range of £240-245m.
With our high quality portfolio of pubs, excellent team, strong balance sheet and sustainable dividend, we remain well placed to withstand the external market challenges and deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”
*BBPA May 2017 to February 2018