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Honeycombe Leisure report fall in sales

29 April 2005

Honeycombe Leisure's latest trading statement before its financial year-end show a fall in sales, due, in part, to the company's pub decision to offload sites and concentrate on its managed pub division.

The sale of freehold sites combined with refurbishment closures and poor weather are among contributory factors to a 2.8% fall like-for-like sales compared with 2004.

In January, it set up a pub management company concentrating on short-term contracts and has recently appointed Tracey Alston as finance director.

It runs 15 sites for Punch Taverns, and its Nectar VCT (Venture Capital Trust) runs 30 pubs. The company also has two more schemes launching in May.

Chief executive Bryan Wardman thinks the idea will catch on, particularly as equity is keen to invest in pubs, but needs experienced operators to run them.

"We've been around a long time, and we can satisfy a need effectively. Tenant operating represents about 50% of the market place and it's something that's going to happen more and more in the pub trade."

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