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Pub group Greene King hit by Beast from the East but Anthony Joshua boosts Easter sales

PUBLISHED: 11:44 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:44 12 April 2018

Green King sales were hit by adverse weather but helped by Anthony Joshua's fight. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Green King sales were hit by adverse weather but helped by Anthony Joshua's fight. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Archant

Bad weather brought by the Beast from the East hit the sales of East Anglian pub owner and brewery Greene King.

The company, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of companies by highest turnover in Norfolk and Suffolk, revealed like-for-like sales were down 1.8% for the 49 weeks to April 8, with food-led pubs particularly badly affected.

However, Easter trading was strong with sales up 2.8% compared to last year, partly due to strong sporting fixtures including Anthony Joshua’s title fight against Joseph Parker.

Last year the pubs chain outlined a raft of challenges affecting the pub and brewing industry over the next few years, which it said were set to “intensify” amid weakened consumer confidence caused by surging inflation.

Drink and accommodation sales were ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis and it confirmed that full year pre-tax profit would be in line with expectations, within the range of £240m to £245m.

The firm also said that it was on track to deliver cost savings of £40m to £45m and garner £120mn from the proceeds of disposals such as the sale of three high-value leasehold pubs.

Greene King, which has its headquarters and a brewery in Bury St Edmunds, operates 2,903 pubs and restaurants across the UK and employs 40,000 people.

Fellow publicans The City Pub Group, which owns St Andrew’s Brewhouse and The Georgian Townhouse in Norwich has reported its final results for the 53 weeks to December 31 which has seen revenue rise 35% to £37.4m, with like-for-like sales at its drink-led portfolio up 3.8%.

The group operates 34 sites across southern England and Wales and has acquired another five pubs with a further two in the pipeline.

The company joined the AIM list on the London Stock Exchange last year which has helped to raise the capital for the expansion.

It has been a difficult time for the pub and restaurant trade with rising food costs, changes to business rates and difficulties in recruitment all contributing to higher overheads.

Several pubs have closed in the last 12 months including the Prince of Denmark in Sprowston Road, The Reindeer in Dereham Road, which has since reopened, and The Norwich Tap House in Redwell Street.

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