Young's pub company is celebrating profit growth as its chief executive acknowledges "one of the most difficult business environments" he has experienced.
Young's chairman Stephen Goodyear said: "This has been another highly successful year for Young's and it further strengthens the belief we have in our strategy of maintaining and operating a differentiated, premium, well-invested pub estate focused on London and southern England."
Chief executive Patrick Dardis added: "We had delivered these results against the challenges of declining real wages, heightened food and energy costs and a challenging economic environment. Our asset-backed predominantly freehold estate helps maintain our competitive advantage.
"These macro challenges are on top of huge fixed cost increases burdening the hospitality industry. I have previously stated my view on business rates and will continue to appeal to the government to review and reverse recent unjustified increases. These combined with the National Living Wage, the apprenticeship levy and the most recent increases to pension auto-enrolment have created one of the most difficult business environments I have ever experienced."
During the financial period Young's invested £53m, purchasing six pubs and increasing its number of bedrooms by 94 to 580.