City Pub Group reported sales ahead of 2019 levels in Q4 of 2022 thanks to the World Cup and strong Christmas trading, but estimated train strikes cost the business £750,000.
The owner and operator of 44 pubs across the south of England and Wales said turnover increased from £35.4m to £57.6m in the year to 25 December 2022, an increase of 63% on the previous year. Life-for-like sales were 3% above 2019 levels.
The group said trading in the first four weeks of 2023 had exceeded expectations and was 25% higher than in 2022, when the emergence of Omicron impacted sales. In its trading update the business announced that chief operating officer Toby Smith will leave the business on 27 January. He will be replaced by Rupert Clark, who is currently group managing director.
Chairman Clive Watson said: "Despite challenges that our industry faces, CPG has always been flexible and adaptable and ready to take advantage of change. We have emerged from the pandemic in a position of strength. We are ready both financially with a very strong balance sheet and operationally with a team that is experienced yet ambitious to take advantage of both organic opportunities as we further premiumise and on building the estate through acquisition, albeit only at the right valuations which we expect to continue to soften.
"Trading has begun better than expected in 2023 and we look forward to an improving economic outlook as the year progresses."