Like-for-like sales surged 7% over the six weeks ended 6 January as the £125mln as punters rolled in to make the most of seasonal promotions, while demand for group bookings was also strong.
Overall, same-pub sales rose 1.6% last year, growth which was mostly driven by volume as price increases were only implemented at the end of the year, something which will boost 2019’s numbers.
Taking into account the 11 new sites that opened during the year, total turnover frothed up to £45.6mln – a jump of 22% despite the fact 2017’s results included an extra week.
“Trading was very encouraging over the festive period and throughout 2018, particularly post-Easter,” said executive chairman Clive Watson
“We have grown very rapidly over the last 2 years, performed well and our new sites are showing their potential.”
He added: “Our low gearing puts us in an enviable position to take advantage of attractive acquisition opportunities that present themselves. If we enter a period of uncertainty caused by Brexit, there is much we can continue to achieve organically.”
Still growing the estate…
In the trading update, City Pub Group confirmed it has bought a new pub in the centre of Cardiff for £2.2mln, while it has also exchanged contracts on two more sites in Norwich and Exeter, valued at around £3mln.
It is in the middle of refurbishing three large sites – one in Parsons Green, one in Reading and the other in Cambridge – all of which will open later this year.
Once these three sites are open and the exchanged sites are completed, the group will have 48 trading pubs and approximately 100 letting rooms.
Negotiations for other, as yet unnamed, sites are also underway, and CPC said it is looking to extend its £30mln borrowing facility which would free up more money to take advantage of the “much less competitive marketplace” currently.
Shares rose 4% to 205p in early deals on Wednesday, valuing the pubs group at £125mln.