Tring-based pub company Oakman Inns and Restaurants has acquired a new site in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
The site is currently a retail unit but Oakman has acquired planning permission for a change of use and for an extension.
It will undergo an £800,000 fit-out before opening to the public in April 2013, to become the company's seventh site. Oakman also has a stake in the British Larder in Suffolk, run by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel, although it announced in September that it is due to sell its stake to concentrate on its own operations.
The acquisition of the as-yet unnamed site is Oakman's second in recent months, following a deal to take on the Crown and Thistle in Abingdon-upon-Thames.
The company said it enjoyed a strong first half of financial year 2012/13. For the 26 weeks ending 30 September 2012 the business achieved like-for-like, year-on-year sales growth of 22.82%. The comparable (un-invested) estate achieved growth of 4.98%.
Chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: "We're delighted to have found a site in Beaconsfield. It has always been a key target town and we were determined to gain a foothold there. This deal has been some time in the gestation and has faced considerable challenges. I am relieved we can now look forward to an opening next spring."
"Our trading performance continues to please, though it does still feel like very hard work in this current environment. One particularly bright area is our advance Christmas bookings, which are well ahead of where they were at this time last year. I must credit our team for delivering this encouraging performance. However, I also sense that companies who have been cautious around Christmas parties in recent years are starting to feel a little more confident and are looking to reward their hard-working teams with some Christmas cheer."
Meanwhile the British Larder was recently named as UK Food Pub of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards, as well as being recognised for its animal-friendly practices at the RSPCA Good Business Awards in the category of Best Independent Pub. It will also appear in the first episode of the new TV series Fanny and Friends. Madalene Bonvini-Hamel's book, The British Larder: a Cookbook for All Seasons, also comes out on 22 November.
Borg-Neal added: "Ross Pike and Madalene Bonvini-Hamel really deserve all this recognition for their incredible hard work, focus and commitment over the past two-and-a-half years. They are pathfinders for the next generation of food-led pubs and I would thoroughly recommend that industry colleagues pay them a visit at some point. Not only will they have a great meal, I am sure they will come away inspired."
By Neil Gerrard
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