City Pub Group has said it is ahead of its strategy to double in size to 65-70 sites by 2021, and expects to have more than 50 pubs by mid-2019.

The listed group this morning updated on trading in the 26 weeks to 1 July, in which sales grew 24% to £20m, with adjusted EBITDA rising 25% to £3m.

During the first 11 weeks of H2, sales have risen 24%.

The group has so far opened nine pubs in 2018, taking it to an estate of 42. It has a further four in development, and others in the hands of solicitors and in negotiation.

The company also announced that its profit share scheme for employees with over a year’s service will be paid every six months from 2019.

Chairman Clive Watson said: “The strategic expansion of our high-quality drink-led estate has been key to the strong progress we have made in the first half. We were well positioned to capitalise on the excellent weather and our sports orientated pubs have benefitted significantly from the World Cup. The nine new sites that we have brought on stream over the course of 2018 have contributed to the increase in sales and Group EBITDA which is reflected in today’s results.

“The momentum from the first half has continued into the second half and in the eleven weeks since July 1 we have seen sales increase by 24%. We are ahead of our original target to double the number of pubs operated by 2021 and expect to have 50 by mid-2019. This will be assisted by softening conditions in the acquisitions market and limited competition for sites.

“We are confident of meeting market expectations for 2018 and believe we have the right team and strategy to continue making progress.”

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