Pubs and brewing chain Young’s provided some cheer from the embattled sector after it reported an 8% rise in half-year profits.
The group, which has 220 pubs and brews Bombardier through its Wells & Young’s joint venture, grew revenues by 0.7% to £67.7 million in the six months to September 27, as adjusted pre-tax profits lifted 8.4% to £13.4 million.
It hailed the strength of food sales following a drive to focus on British cuisine, while it also benefited from a Local Heroes campaign to push locally brewed ales, such as Old Hooky, Butcombe Bitter and Sambrook’s Wandle.
The company’s 13 hotels, which were recently rebranded as Young’s, saw sales grow by 18.7% in the period.
Young’s, which is working on plans to brew special ales to celebrate April’s royal wedding and the London Olympics in 2012, said recent trading remained positive, with like-for-like sales in its managed pubs estate up 1.8% in the last seven weeks, compared with 0.8% in the half-year.
The Wandsworth-based company said it had been resilient to the recession due to its focus on London and the south-east and the premium end of the market.
The results were boosted by a good performance from Wells & Young’s, with sales up 1.5% and pre-exceptional profits 18% higher.
But sales through its tenanted pubs were flat, with a 4.2% decline in profits, as the company provided more financial support.
Shares in the company were up 3% following the results announcement.
Hugh-Guy Lorriman, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, retained his ‘buy’ rating for the company, saying that the results were better than expected. He forecast the company would make £21.5 million of pre-tax profits in the year.