Pub company Young's delivered strong results against a challenging market backdrop.
The company filed its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 2 April 2018 today, in which it reports profit before tax of £37.6m, up 1.6% on the previous year, and revenue of £279.3m, an increase of 3.9%.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young's, said: "I am delighted with this strong set of results, delivered against a challenging market backdrop…
"Although uncertainty prevails in both the political and economic environment, we are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver superior shareholder returns. I am a firm believer that the traditional British pub will never go out of fashion and, as a result, I'm both excited and optimistic about the year ahead."
Dardis pointed to cost challenges including the National Living Wage, business rates, the Apprenticeship Levy and increases to pension auto-enrolment as having created "one of the most difficult business environments I have ever experienced" and having added over £4m to the company's cost base.
Although Dardis said he welcomed the Chancellor bringing forward the next rates valuation, he said it "didn't go far enough to modernise the method of calculating business rates".
He added: "Given this backdrop, our financial performance is all the more impressive and is further testament to our very clear strategy of owning clearly differentiated, premium and well-invested pubs run by talented and attentive people."
The company invested £53m in acquisitions and upgrades to its existing estate during the year, and since the start of the current financial year has seen managed house revenue up 7.5% on a like-for-like basis, despite very strong comparatives.
Young's has a portfolio of 255 pubs, predominantly across London and Southern England, including Smiths of Smithfield in London's Clerkenwell, which it acquired in November 2017 and reopened this month following a full refurbishment.