Fuller’s has reported like-for-like sales (lfls) in its managed portfolio up 4.1% in the six months to 29 September.
Like-for-like profit in the tenanted estate was up 4% for the period.
Both divisions outperformed last year’s growth of 3.6% and 3% respectively.
The group said growth was driven by a 5.5% increase in drink lfs, with a 1.6% uplift for food and 1.8% on accomoodation.
Total beer and cider volumes for The Fuller’s Beer Company rose marginally by 0.2%, with revenue up 7%
Group revenue was up 6% to £222.1m, with EBITDA growing 2% to £38.2m.
During the period the group acquired six Bel & The Dragon country inns and four City sites from We Are Bar, which it said filled geographical gaps in its estate. The Trinity Bell in Creechurch Lane has already undergone a transformational scheme and Fuller’s said it would continue to invest in the bars in 2019.
The group said there had been “continued good progress” in the tenanted division, with 23 pubs on the new turnover agreement (expected to exceed the original target of 28 by the end of the year) and four pubs sold as part of a strategic review.
Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “I am pleased to be reporting another good performance. Each division is delivering growth and we continue to benefit from having a well-balanced business. Our excellent management team has further strengthened the business through a clear vision, a strong set of values and a commitment to growth through offering an outstanding customer experience and recruiting, developing and retaining the best people.
“While our revenues have continued to grow, we experienced a small drop in group profits - however, this should be taken in context. We made a conscious decision to front-load our investment programme - impacting our profitability by £0.9 million. Although we would have seen profit increase had we not taken this action, we believe this is the right decision and ensures our estate is in the best possible position to benefit from the busy Christmas period and beyond.
“In the 33 weeks since 1 April 2018, like for like sales in our Managed Pubs have risen 4.4%, while like for like profit in our Tenanted Inns is up 2% and total beer and cider volumes in The Fuller’s Beer Company are marginally up 0.5%.
“Since the period end, we have opened The Albert Arms in Esher, with six bedrooms, and added seven new bedrooms to The Fox & Goose, Hanger Lane, while a further 28 bedrooms are due to come on stream before the year end. We will also be opening The Signal Box at Euston Station in December.
“The second half of the year is also an exciting time for The Fuller’s Beer Company. We are installing our new canning line at Dark Star, will be brewing our second suite of Fuller’s & Friends collaboration beers and building on the early work of our Fuller’s First initiative to grow the share of our own beers in our Managed and Tenanted estates. We will also be optimising and driving business benefits from the new ERP system and launching an online B2B sales platform.
“Finally, it would be impossible to look forward to the second half of the year without reference to Brexit, which is due to happen on the penultimate day of our financial year. Facing uncertainty is never easy, but Fuller’s is an exceptionally well-established operation and benefits from a balanced business model which is designed to be flexible enough to adapt to changing trends and markets yet resilient enough to weather any storm. With a first-class team of people, a well-invested pub estate and a portfolio of outstanding brands, we are ready and able to face the future.”