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Downpour fails to dampen pub profits at Jennings

21 October 2004
Downpour fails to dampen pub profits at Jennings

Unseasonally heavy rainfall dampened sales but not profits at northern pub operator and brewer Jennings.

Over the six months to 28 August the group boosted pre-tax profits by 9.1% to £1.79m on turnover 5.8% ahead at £9.58m.

However, sales growth slumped from 10% in the first quarter to just 1.9% in the second.

The group blamed abnormally heavy rainfall, which was 60% higher than the seasonal average and 106% higher than in 2003.

"Given the impact of poor weather as compared to 2003 on the significant tourism-derived trading in our Cumbrian heartland, this is a good result," said chairman John Rudgard.

Cumbria accounts for 43 of Jennings 127 leased pubs.

However, the worst effects of the downpour were felt by the brewing division, where turnover dropped by 1.5% overall thanks to a 5.9% fall in direct sales to free houses in Cumbria.

The pub division increased operating profits by 10% to £3.1m (representing 80% of the group total).

Pubs turnover also climbed by 10%, to £6.38m (or 67% of total revenue).

Over the six months, Jennings bought four properties for £2.31m and sold three for £700,000. It has bought two more pubs since the end of the half-year for £710,000.

Rudgard said trading had shown some improvement since the end of the half-year, despite more downpours that were affecting tourism and trading, especially in Cumbria.

September profits, he added, were in line with expectations.

by Angela Frewin

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