Greene King pub firm has reported stable pre-tax profits (adjusted) of £246.9m, an increase of 1.6% on the previous year.
In its preliminary financial results for the 52 weeks to 28 April 2019 the group filed revenue of £2.2b, an increase of 1.8%, and credited its profit growth to strong like-for-like sales and an ongoing cost mitigation programme. Like-for-like sales for the group's pub company increased 2.9%, boosted by the good weather and World Cup.
Greene King operates 2,730 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland, of which 1,687 were retail pubs, restaurants and hotels, and 1,043 were tenanted, leased and franchised pubs. Its leading brands are Greene King Local Pubs, Chef & Brewer, Farmhouse Inns and Hungry Horse. 81% of the estate is either freehold or long leasehold.
On 30 April 2019, just after year end, Rooney Anand resigned from the board, leaving Greene King after 14 years as chief executive, and was replaced by Nick Mackenzie from Merlin Entertainments.
Mackenzie said: "The business delivered good results last year, regaining trading momentum in pub company and returning to market outperformance while fulfilling a strong cost mitigation programme and making further progress refinancing the spirit debenture. The existing strategy we have in place has led the business through challenging times. I am looking forward to building on Greene King's strong foundations with a focus on innovation, on developing our people and on customer service to further enhance our brands and deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders."
Chairman Philip Yea added: "I believe that with Nick's fresh approach and extensive experience, coupled with Greene King's strong brands, teams and assets, we are in a good position to deliver on our ambition of becoming the best pub and beer company in Britain whilst continuing to drive strong financial returns. We cannot count on repeating last year's weather, nor a stable economic environment; however, we will remain focused on the needs of our customers, teams and shareholders."