Wet-led sales leaving food growth in the shade, reveals Greene King

Greene King said this morning that drink sales continued to outperform food sales during the first half of the year even though it has extended the business into more food-led pubs.

Management said the good summer weather and World Cup were the main factors behind the superior wet-led growth and pointed to industry trends that back this up.

Coffer Peach Business Tracker data for October shows the moving annual total for like-for-like sales growth among drink-led pubs is 2.7% compared with just 0.3% for pub restaurants, while restaurants are down 0.9%.

Greene King said it has expanded into more food-led pubs this year, which in turn has helped to improve its drinks offer in those pubs through better ranging, especially in categories such as gin and cider.

“Our strong portfolio of brands and our active estate management programme enable us to react dynamically to shifting consumer behaviour,” the company stated.

Since the acquisition of Spirit in 2015, Greene King has pruned its retail portfolio to focus on the strongest brands that will maximise sales potential and deliver economies of scale and efficiencies within the group.

It now has four focus brands – Greene King, Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer and Farmhouse Inns – and they cover more than 90% of its managed pub estate.

Interim results published this morning show that group revenue rose 1.9% year-on-year to £1 billion, while pre-tax profits increased 3.2% to £127.7m.

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