Peach Pubs is “within reach” of its medium term goal of growing to 22 sites and expects to open another one or two this year.

The currently 18-strong group reported like-for-like sales up 7.5% for August and growth of 4.5% on average across the year so far.

It followed the year to 10 January 2016 in which turnover rose 11% to £25m with normalised EBITDA growth reaching £2.8m.

Co-founder Hamish Stoddart stressed that the group had the firepower to expand when the right opportunities arise.

He said: “Last year was another good one for Peach - that’s 14 years on the trot, not bad for a self-funded start up. Some may say we are growing slowly, but we say steady and that’s definitely best, and definitely the way we want it,” he says.

“We haven’t closed a new pub deal yet this year and given we have the funding (£3m) and the ambition to do two or three, that’s one of our key challenges. We are considering how we can make this change. It’s certainly tough to find great sustainable gastropubs at sensible prices. We feel this gets harder every year and this year particularly some people will get burnt by paying too much or over investing. It’s created by all the smaller and bigger pub companies and casual dining groups having cash available to invest.

“We have launched our first boutique hotel alongside a gastropub. We have pubs with 65 rooms but this is a boutique 12 bedder, a first for us.

“Our shared ownership model continues to work for us. Another partner has just left, taking their share of the gain created. John Taylor leaves for Devon with his family and £250k in share proceeds, and while we are really sad to see him go, we are also celebrating that this is our fourth successful partner exit. This year we have made up three more partners.”

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