15th January, 2013 by Andy Young
Greene King is celebrating record Christmas Day takings after an increase in the number of families deciding to eat out on 25 December.
Hungry Horse, Old English and Belhaven Pubs plus Loch Fyne restaurants are all part of the Green King group, which sold 448,000 Christmas meals in December. Takings were also up 6.8% to £2.7 million on December 25, after setting a record last year. Greene King opened 85% of its managed pubs, restaurants and hotels on Christmas Day.
Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “Pubs continue to play a vital role for customers, families and communities across the UK during the festive period, especially in this difficult financial environment.”
But he warned that the company, and the UK pub industry, could be facing a difficult 2013.
Anand added: “We do not expect conditions for the UK consumer to improve in 2013. While this presents ongoing challenges for all consumer-facing businesses, we are confident that our strategy, tailored to the prevailing conditions, and our consistent focus on providing excellent value, service and quality to our customers, will continue to deliver sustainable earnings and dividend growth to our shareholders. ”
Greene King also said that its core own-brewed volume in its brewing and brands division fell by 2%, but this was better than the UK ale market as a whole, which fell by 4.2%. The group added that its two lead brands, Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen, were both ahead of last year thanks largely to marketing campaigns.
Simon French, an analyst at Panmure Gordon stockbrokers, told the Press Association: “The group does not expect conditions for the UK consumer to improve in 2013 and we share this caution.
“However the group’s well positioned managed pub estate and resilient tenanted and brewing operations means it is well positioned to maintain its current growth rates.”