Strong Easter and Valentine’s sales deliver boost for Greene King

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King. - Credit: Archant

Strong Easter and Valentine’s Day sales have delivered a boost to trading for pubs and brewing group Greene King ahead of its annual results.

In a trading update for the 51 weeks to April 26, Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King said like-for-like sales within its key retail pubs division were 0.4% ahead overall and 0.8% up on the previous year when adjusted for the impact of the new drink-drive law in Scotland.

Like-for-like sales over the Easter period were 2.4% up, despite the holiday falling earlier in the year compared with 2014, and total sales on Valentine’s Day came in at a record £4million.

Within the group’s leased and tenanted pubs estate like for like net income was 3.6% up after 48 weeks of the year while own-brewed volumes within the brewing and brands division were 4.1% ahead at the 51-week stage.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We once again traded well over key events, such as Valentine’s Day and Easter, as customers celebrated and enjoyed these occasions in our pubs.

“The second half of this financial year, however, has been tougher than the first half, with more difficult comparatives to last year and the additional impact of new drink driving legislation in Scotland.”

A decision from the Competition & Markets Authority on Greene King’s deal to acquire the Spirit Pub Company is due on May 11.

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Mr Anand said: “The scheme of arrangement is expected to become effective during the first half of 2015, which will enable us to commence the integration process.

“The acquisition of Spirit will create the UK’s leading managed pub operator, accelerate our retail expansion strategy and deliver significant synergy opportunities and scale benefits for both sets of shareholders.”

The strongest performing brands within the retail division were Metropolitan, the group’s premium local format, which strongly outperformed the London market, Farmhouse Inns, its growing carvery brand, and Old English Inns.

The improved performance within the leased and tendanted division partly reflected the benefits from the disposal of 275 non-core sites to Hawthorn Leisure while in brewing and brands Old Speckled Hen led the way with volume growth of more than 15%,

Greene King is due to announce its results for the 52 weeks to May 3 on July 1.