Shepherd Neame saw like-for-like sales in its 68-strong managed estate grow 1.3% in the year to 30 June.

Across its 242 tenanted pubs, same outlet like-for-like EBITDAR grew 2.1%, with total divisional up 2.7% to £35.4m and divisional underlying operating profit growing 1.9% to £13.2m.

Total divisional turnover in the managed estate grew by 7.7% to £65.3m with underlying operating profit down from £9m to £8.7m.

Divisional turnover in brewing & brands declined by 8.9% to £54.4m in line with total own beer sales volume down -10.6% to 196,000 barrels. However, divisional underlying operating profit grew by 46.9% to £2.3m.

For the 11 weeks to 15 September, like-for-like managed sales were up +5.1%. In the 9 weeks to 1 September like-for-like tenanted EBITDAR was up 6.2% and own brand beer and cider volume was up +6.4% (2017: -6.5%).

Group turnover for the year increased by 0.2% to £156.6m with underlying EBITDA up 5.5% to £24.6m.

This month the group has already reported the acquisition of three London pubs - riverside City site the Samuel Pepys; the Savoy Tap, off the Strand and the Cheshire Cheshire in Temple – as well as the Wheatsheaf, Farnham, from Red Mist Leisure. It has also entered a contract to build a new pub hotel in the centre of the Ebbsfleet Garden City development

Over the last five years Shepherd Neame has acquired 22 pubs and sold 51.

The group invested £10.2m in capital expenditure during the period and £2.8m in repairs and decorations.

Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “ After a period of record investment in the prior year, the 2018 financial year was going to be a period of consolidation of the recent acquisitions. Further, we had to deal with the challenge of repositioning the brewing and brands business to focus on our own beers after the expiry of the Asahi contract.

“A key trend in the hospitality sector in the 2018 financial year has been the slowdown in food sales offset by a stronger performance for drinks-led businesses. Shepherd Neame runs pubs, not restaurants. Eating out in pubs provides a different experience from that in a casual dining restaurant. The resilience of our pubs comes from the differentiation in our offer, the quality of our service, the provenance of our menus and the character, heritage and authenticity of our outlets, thereby giving a unique pub experience.

“A further significant factor in the 2018 financial year has been the less favourable weather trends compared to the prior year, with a particularly cold spring in 2018, when trade was materially below normal trading levels. A number of our key coastal sites were affected by this. But as soon as the weather improved these same sites performed strongly.

“The fact that the company has continued to deliver a good profit outturn for the period in these conditions is testimony to the premium quality of our business and the balance of the revenue streams.”