Stonegate, the UK’s largest privately-owned pub operator, has entered the New Year in good heart after reporting a “strong” performance from its estate throughout the Christmas period.
The operator of 700 sites said that it achieved like-for-like growth of 5.5% for the four weeks to 31 December, bettering the 5.3% growth that it saw at the same stage last year.
Stonegate operates a multiple format strategy approach, with a portfolio which operates across a wide variety of predominantly drinks-focused trading formats spanning high-street and suburban pubs, as well as late-night bars and venues.
It said that all of the group’s formats performed well during the period and “encouragingly” all areas of the country were in growth.
The performance capped the end of a busy year in which it acquired 30 sites from iNTERTAIN and 21 from a selection of JD Wetherspoon, Sports Bar & Grill and Faucet Inns.
With the integration of these sites complete, these bars traded in line with expectations over the Christmas and New Year period and, as such, have contributed to the group’s performance over the past four weeks.
Simon Longbottom, chief executive of Stonegate, commented: “I am delighted to report another strong festive trading period, building on the positive like for like trading momentum which Stonegate delivered in 2017. Our range of pub and bar formats and consumer propositions continue to resonate with customers and win market share, underpinning our success and confidence in our drinks-led, high street strategy.
“Encouragingly all of our trading formats performed well and it was particularly pleasing to see some of the pubs we have acquired – and invested in over the last 12 months – performing particularly strongly. Key trading occasions such as Christmas and New Year are becoming increasingly important in the pub retailing calendar and the entire Stonegate team delivered an outstanding experience for our customers up and down the country throughout the four week festive period.”
Mr Longbottom said the chain enters 2018 with “positive trading momentum” and is “confident” of another year of progress.