Pub operator and brewer Shepherd Neame has reported strong performance in its tenanted estate and turnover growth across all divisions.
In a trading statement, which covered the 26 weeks ending 28 December 2019, Shepherd Neame reported that turnover increased to £79m, compared to £76.5m during the same period the previous year, an increase of 3.3%.
Underlying operating profit was up 1.1% at £8m compared to £7.9m in 2018 while pre-tax profit was up 4.8% to £6.2m benefiting from lower interest charges.
Across its 69 managed pubs sales grew 4.3% to £37m. Like-for-like sales were up by 0.9% against strong comparatives of 4.1% in the prior year. Average income per managed pub grew by 1.4% compared to 8.5% growth in 2018.
Average income per tenanted pub grew by 5%. Divisional underlying operating profit was up 1.7% to £6.7m.
Additionally, the brewer's own beer and cider brands, which include Crossfire, Spitfire and Bear Island, saw volume growth 3.3% ahead of market growth of 2.6%.
Shepherd Neame chief executive, Jonathan Neame said: "Shepherd Neame continues to benefit from a well-balanced business. These results demonstrate the strength of our tenanted pubs in a period where managed margin was held back by the challenging cost environment. We are pleased to see that own brand beer and cider volume is outperforming the market. As a result of this strategy we again have delivered a solid performance in the first half.
"For the rest of the year, we remain concerned about the potential impact of the Covid-19 virus. We have seen no discernible change in customer behaviour to date. Looking forward it is impossible at this stage to gauge the likely impact, but should there be significant restrictions on travel and the movement of people in the coming months, that would have an inevitable bearing on our business and our supply chain."
Shepherd Neame is the UK's oldest brewer. It was founded in 1698 and has been family owned since 1864. It is the owner and operator of 320 pubs in Kent and the South East.