The Oakman Group has reported full year results ending 3 July 2022, with like-for-like sales up 19.9% vs 2019, and total sales of £65.1m.

The group hailed an “excellent trading result despite a year marred by numerous external challenges”.

Total sales were 79.0% on 2021, with LFL sales up 51.2% on 2021.

Executive chairman Peter Borg-Neal said “extraordinary Covid difficulties”, as well as changes in VAT, made for confusing trading numbers.

He said: “Whichever way you look at the comparisons, these results represent an excellent performance. Certainly, Oakman has consistently outperformed the Coffer CGA tracker of industry sales.”

More recent trading shows healthy underlying growth has continued throughout the year. Total group sales for June, the five weeks to the 3rd of July, were £7.1m – up 48.9% on 2019. LFL sales during the period were up 11% on 2019.

Borg-Neal said sales remained soft through the spring, and although the Jubilee week was not as strong as hoped for, Oakman saw buoyant sales over the rest of June.

“These numbers would have been even better but for the continued challenges regarding staffing,” he added. “Exact calculations are difficult, but we estimate that, as a consequence of having to restrict trading at various times, we have lost around a further 2-3% of growth.”

Oakman has continued to add and develop new sites. The three major openings – The Rose, Wokingham, The Grand Junction Arms, Bulbourne and The Grand Junction, Buckingham – have all performed ahead of their investment targets. Oakman has recently acquired The Hesketh Arms in Rufford, Lancashire and are currently on-site with The Beech House in Watford which will open in September.

Oakman acquired six pubs and the intellectual property of The Seafood Pub Company in early 2021. Since then, four sites have been added under the leadership of Joycelyn Neve and further additions will occur over the next twelve months.

Borg-Neal staff shortages and the impact of inflation have become the biggest challenges for the management team.

“It is clear, that the runaway inflation will have an impact on profit and there is a high degree of uncertainty driven by the wider geo-political issues such as the war in Ukraine,” he said.

“Accordingly, we have had to slow our opening program down as we have become a little more cautious,” he added. “However, I am delighted with the performance of the three we have opened and am very optimistic regarding the prospects of our new site in Watford. Furthermore, we have an excellent pipeline ready to be developed as funding, and our confidence levels, allows.”

Statutory accounts for 2020/21 show Oakman make net sales of £32.4m (2020: £29.9) and EBITDA of £3.6m (2020: loss of £2.6m).