Young’s has today announced Preliminary Results for the 52 Weeks Ended 1 April 2019.
Total revenue was up 8.7% to £303.7m, yet again underpinned by managed house like-for-like performance, enhanced by complementary, eye-catching acquisitions.
Through strong conversion, profit before tax was up 5.1% to £39.5m, or up 5.9% to £43.4m once adjusted for exceptional items.
Group operating margins of 16% were maintained once again at a high level for the industry, albeit slightly lower than last year (2018: 16.8%). This reflects a significant amount of investment over the past 18 months for long-term growth, both in the group's existing estate and acquisitions, including the recently added Redcomb pubs, as well as the external cost pressures facing the industry.
The main driver of the group performance was the managed house division, which now makes up 95.6% of turnover, where like-for-like sales in the period were up 5.1%. This represents the eighth consecutive year of increases over 4.2%.
Total drinks sales were up 9.6% and up 6.5% on a like-for-like basis, and craft keg ale sales increased by 22.9%.
At the start of the year, Young's launched its latest gin campaign, ‘Spring into Gin’, and its success alongside ‘ginspired’ premium serve balloon glass led to sales rising by 35.2%, making it the sixth consecutive year with sales growth of over 20%.
The now established ‘Cocktail Collective’, has played a significant part in another year of outstanding cocktail growth, with sales up 32.1%. The most popular cocktail for a second successive year has been Aperol Spritz which has seen a boom of 70.0% (2018: 85.0%). Overall, spirit sales grew by 14.4%.
In January, the firm acquired 15 pubs through the purchase of the Redcomb pub group. It acquired three more pubs during the year - the Naturalist (Hackney), a long leasehold, along with two freehold purchases: the Plantation (Poole), and the People’s Park Tavern (Hackney), which will be ‘warehoused’ in the Ram Pub Company.
Following these investments, the total pub count at the end of the year stood at 269, split with 199 of those as managed houses and the remaining 70 operating under the Ram Pub Company. At the same time, the firm has increased its managed room stock by 88, or 15.2%, to 668 rooms.
Patrick Dardis, Chief Executive of Young’s, commented, “I am very pleased to announce such a strong set of results which are a testament to the quality of our incredible people who bring our premium positioned pubs to life. These results demonstrate that our strategy continues to deliver.
“The addition of the 15 Redcomb pubs complements the existing Young’s managed house estate and presents tremendous opportunities for future growth. We have continued to invest in our existing estate as well as upgrading our technology, and are excited to realise this potential.
“It has been a tough start to the year against very strong comparatives with the only good weather coming in the Easter bank holiday this year.
'Looking ahead, the amazing weather throughout the summer of 2018 and England’s World Cup success sets a high benchmark for the coming months. However, we remain confident that we will continue our strong growth story in the coming year.“