Belhaven owner cheers strong Easter sales

Greene King, the pubs and brewery group whose portfolio includes the 300-year-old Belhaven Brewery in East Lothian, has posted strong Easter trading figures as good weather drove sales.

The results are Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand's swansong before his successor takes over from 1 May. Picture: Greene King

In a trading update for the 52 weeks to 28 April the owner of the Hungry Horse and Chef & Brewer brands revealed that like-for-like sales in its Pub Company division were up by 2.9 per cent.

Its portfolio of Greene King local pubs performed particularly well, with revenues up 4.6 per cent in the period.

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Easter sales were also 4.6 per cent higher versus last year’s Easter weekend, helped by the spring sunshine and stand-out results from the Chef & Brewer brand, which recorded revenue growth of 15.3 per cent.

The group Pub Partners arm notched up a 1.6 per cent net income rise for the 52 weeks, however like-for-like profits dropped by 1.4 per cent.

Own-brewed beer volumes slipped 3.4 per cent, slightly outperforming the UK ale market which was down 4.2 per cent.

The results are to be chief executive Rooney Anand’s parting words from his current role, with Merlin Entertainments executive Nick Mackenzie set to join the board as CEO from tomorrow.

The company forecast full-year pre-tax profits to come in between £244 million and £247m.

Anand said: “We have traded strongly this year and have returned to market outperformance. As I hand over to my successor Nick Mackenzie, I believe that, with our strong pub and beer brands, talented and dedicated team and high-quality estate, Greene King is well positioned to make further progress and continue outperforming the market.”

Greg Johnson, analyst at Shore Capital, said the broker re-iterated its “buy” stance for the group, adding: “Greene King has seen improving momentum across its pub estate, including Hungry Horse returning to growth and excellent momentum at Chef & Brewer.”