City Pub Group sales rose 22% in 2018

Sales at pub chain City Pub Group rose 22% across 2018, as the company continues to expand its portfolio in the UK.

(Photo: City Pub Group)

Total turnover for the year was £45.6 million, an increase of around 22% compared to 2017, according to the company’s trading update. It said that like for like growth was led by volume, as the company didn’t increase its prices until towards the second half of the year.

City Pub Group completed its purchase of a freehold site in the centre of Cardiff in a deal worth £2.2 million in December, and is in the process of buying two more sites’ one in Exeter, and an extension to its current site in Norwich totalling £3 million.

The festive season also helped to drum up revenue. Like for like sales over the six week period ending 6 January were up 7%.

The group hopes to add a further four pubs to its portfolio by 2019.

The pub group was founded by Clive Watson in 2011, who floated the business on AIM in December 2017 with a view to raising £30m for its ongoing expansion. The group surpassed its target, raising £35 million with shares valued at 170p.

The company has grown “very rapidly over the last 2 years, performed well and our new sites are showing their potential,” Watson said.

“Our low gearing puts us in an enviable position to take advantage of attractive acquisition opportunities that present themselves. If we enter a period of uncertainty caused by Brexit, there is much we can continue to achieve organically.”

Watson, 56, previously owned Capital Pub Group, but sold the company to Greene King in 2011 for £93 million. His Chelsea pub, along with daughters Lucy and Tiffany, have starred in Channel 4 reality show Made in Chelsea, with Watson himself making a guest appearance.

The company currently owns 44 sites across the south of England, most of which are run on a freehold basis. It spent £12 million on nine pub acquisitions this year.

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