Pub operator Honeycombe Leisure has increased its turnover by more than 50% after buying the 35-strong Devonshire pub company for £8.5m in March last year.

In the 12 months to 28 April, turnover at the group increased by 54% to £32.4m, compared with £21m a year earlier. Pre-tax profit was up by 18.5% to just more than £1m, compared with £843,777 in 2001.

Chairman Sandy Anderson said the company had made “significant progress” during the year despite the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on its “trading heartland”.

Foot-and-mouth disease affected about 10% of the group’s pubs, said Anderson, leading to flat like-for-like sales in the year to April. About £700,000 of turnover and £200,000 of profit is estimated to have been lost because of the outbreak.

Trading in the new year had started positively, said the group. Despite “unseasonably wet weather”, like-for-like sales, boosted by the World Cup, increased by 6% in the first 10 weeks of the year compared with 2001.

Honeycombe operates 71 pubs across the North of England.

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