Liberation Group warns its UK utility costs will double from October

15 September 2022 by
Liberation Group warns its UK utility costs will double from October

Liberation Group has reported a strong summer of trading for its pubs, brewing and drinks businesses across the UK and Channel Islands, but warned its UK utilities costs will double in October.

The company reported its highest ever single week of revenue during August this year.

From 21 May to 3 September, total like-for-like sales across the group's managed pub division were up 6.3% on 2021 and 30% on 2019.

Growth was driven by an "encouraging" 14.2% increase in drinks sales, a "robust" performance on food and a "record" increase in accommodation sales of 5.7%.

The group said it had seen a strong performance in the UK and an "encouraging recovery" in Guernsey and Jersey, which had benefitted from strong tourist demand and a gradual return to office working in St Helier.

Chief executive Jonathan Lawson (pictured) said Liberation Group had seen high levels of food inflation within its managed estate, but its food team and suppliers had worked to find alternative products and develop new menus and dishes to reduce its exposure to products such as oil, which has seen a surge in price.

Recruitment continued to be "a challenge", said Lawson, however he said the group was "far better placed than this time last year".

"The trading outlook has clearly toughened, with our customers contending with a cost-of-living crisis and ourselves grappling with cost base pressures, the most extreme of which is utilities," he added.

"Even with the support announced, our UK utility costs will double in October. We are keen to understand further details from the government, including longer term utility support and actions to reduce VAT and suspend business rates.

"Despite the obvious headwinds for our customers and ourselves, we are confident in our ability to deliver a fantastic Christmas for our customers and ongoing investment into our business is testimony to the belief in our teams and in the potential for our business over the next few years."

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