Green King serves up higher profits

Loch Fyne and Hungry Horse owner Greene King toasted higher profits today as it pulled in recession-hit customers with a broad range of promotions.

The Bury St Edmunds-based group, which operates more than 2,298 pubs, restaurants and hotels, reported a 4.3% rise in like-for-like sales in the 24 weeks to October 14.

The firm, which also runs Old English Inns and employs 22,000 people, said it was helped by a “flight to value” among consumers amid the tough economic climate.

Announcing a 7% rise in pre-tax profits to £82.7m (€101.8m), Greene King said it boosted its share of the £41bn (€50bn) “informal dining market” by broadening its food offers to drive growth.

Against a market that is growing value at around 3%, food sales in Greene King’s retail division were up 12% in the period.

Shares in the group were 1% higher after the results were published.

Douglas Jack, analyst at brokers Numis Securities, said it was “a good performance given that it occurred during a record wet summer”.

At Hungry Horse, its weekly offers are now 27% of all food sold and its loyalty programme, being trialled in 40 sites, now has over 22,000 members.

At Eating Inn, it reduced average selling prices by 5%, while in Loch Fyne it increased the average portion size of its “fish your way” dish.

And at its Belhaven pubs, it introduced Carling as a value lager.

The group said wine and coffee were also important for growth and it saw a 22% rise in wine sales as it grew its offer, while hot beverage sales, of which coffee is 75%, were up 8.3% in the period.

The group’s brewing and brands division saw its core own-brewed volumes fall 0.9%, although this outperformed the UK ale market which was down 3%.

Premium ale brand Old Speckled Hen saw volume growth of 5.9% against a premium ale market up 1.8% and Greene King IPA, the cask ale brand, achieved volume growth of 2.2%, in a standard ale market down 5%.

More in this Section

Video: Food deliveries using drones to begin in Dublin this monthVideo: Food deliveries using drones to begin in Dublin this month

Public fed up with EU warnings over Brexit delays, says Wetherspoons chiefPublic fed up with EU warnings over Brexit delays, says Wetherspoons chief

Coronavirus: Irish bank shares fall as Italy mulls EU budget requestCoronavirus: Irish bank shares fall as Italy mulls EU budget request

UK-EU trade talks set for choppy waters after fishing rowUK-EU trade talks set for choppy waters after fishing row


Lifestyle

I don't remember a lot of shouting in my household growing up, and neither does my twin.Mum's the Word: How did my parents manage to create a calm household?

The TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards have been revealed. These are the destinations that came out tops.3 emerging destinations to add to your travel wish list – according to TripAdvisor data

The recent death of Caroline Flack has once again brought the issue of internet trolls and cancel culture back into public discourse.Learning Points: The reality is we all play a role in cancel culture

Rita de Brún speaks with Sean McKeown, Fota Wildlife Park director and longtime Cork resident.‘You’ve got to make the changes you want to see’, says Fota Wildlife director

More From The Irish Examiner