JW Lees managing director William Lees-Jones has told MCA the group expects to acquire a site a month in 2018.

It comes after the acquisition of two new hotels - The Stanneyland’s Hotel in Wilmslow Cheshire and The Boddington Arms in Samlesbury Lancashire.

The Stanneyland’s has been bought through Christie & Co from The Mere Boutique Ltd while the Boddington Arms has been purchased from Greene King, with Fleurets negotiating the sale.

Lees-Jones told MCA the company was geared up for further growth in 2018 and was currently assessing several opportunities.

He said that like-for-like sales were currently up “but not by much”, with redemptions in offers up 66% on last year as people embrace on line and look for deals.

He cited GDPR is the next big challenge as the group tries to migrate its database of 200,000 guests.

He said the business was reorganising away from the traditional split of managed and tenanted into ‘hotels and Inns’ and ‘pubs’ irrespective of operating model.

On the most recent acquisitions, he said: “‘These two acquisitions follow our strategy of investing in quality pub and hotel businesses in the North West; between them they add 72 more bedrooms to our managed business, taking our bedroom numbers to 287 rooms under company management. Both hotels have substantial food and beverage businesses which we can add value to with the JW Lees offering.

“We will immediately integrate the Stanneyland’s Hotel into the JW Lees hotels business, while we have closed the Boddington Arms for a complete £1m+ refurbishment to re-open in April as ‘The Bluebird Inn at Samlesbury’, named after Donald Campbell’s world-record breaking Bluebird K7 boat whose Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus turbo-jet engine was built by British Aerospace in Samlesbury. In additional to these acquisitions JW Lees is investing in a number of substantial refurbishments in our core estate in our last quarter including The Alderley Edge Hotel, Anglesey Arms Hotel Menai Bridge, Groes Inn Conway, Huntsman Inn Holmfirth and Trearddur Bay Hotel.

“With these two new acquisitions and major developments carried out this year we will have invested over £18 million in our business in the year to March 2018.

“JW Lees has taken this opportunity to reorganise our business to build capacity for anticipated future acquisitions: we will now move away from the traditional model of dividing the business into Managed and Tenanted Pubs in favour splitting our business into ‘Hotels and Inns’ and ‘Pubs’ irrespective of operating model. We remain firmly committed to all three of our three trading divisions – Hotels & Inns headed up by Tony Spencer, Pubs headed up by Chris Moulson and Sales headed up by Dean Redfern, as well as vertical integration where we can add value in key service areas like Distribution, Marketing, Property and Technical Services. The re-brand of our beers launched in November 2017 has been well received by customers and we will be commissioning a new small-batch 10-barrel brewery, called The Greendoor Brewery, and bottling plant in the Spring. These are exciting times at JW Lees and we look forward to continuing to grow our business.”

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