Pub group Young & Co has reported a "pleasing" start to its performance in the current financial year, with like-for-like sales during the first 13 weeks up 5.2%.
In a trading update announced this morning, Stephen Goodyear, chairman of the company which operates 181 managed pubs within its Young's and Geronimo Inns divisions and 74 in the tenanted Ram Pub Company, said the performance was against tough comparatives with last year when like-for-like sales were 8.6%, driven by the hottest June in 40 years. Total sales in the first 13 weeks this year increased by 8.8%.
"We are, once more, benefiting from a long period of very warm weather," he explained, adding that the company had benefitted from seven acquisitions made last year and three transfers from the Ram Pub Company to managed houses.
"Both the Park (Teddington) with 43 bedrooms and the Bridge (Chertsey) with 51 rooms, which we acquired at the end of March, increasing our hotel presence, will undergo redevelopment during the coming year," he said. "We expect to see the benefit of these two acquisitions later in 2019.
"We will also shortly be opening the Naturalist (Woodberry Down) and we are poised to start fitting out a further site in Kidbrooke Village."
Goodyear said that despite the uncertainty surrounding Britain's future trading relationship with Europe and cost challenges which were "unhelpful for businesses", he remains confident in Young's "winning strategy of running differentiated well-invested, individual, premium pubs in excellent locations, which has a proven track record of outperforming the sector."
Young & Co operates mainly in London and the south east.