Fuller’s Christmas pub sales jump following post-election ‘bounce’

Fuller’s said sales at its pubs and hotels jumped over the Christmas period as it was buoyed by increased political certainty.

The pub group said it saw a “noticeable bounce” after last month’s General Election which has continued into the new year.

The company reported a 4.3% increase in like-for-like sales across its managed pubs and hotels business for the six weeks encompassing Christmas and new year.

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales for the past 42 weeks to January 14 increased by 2.5% as it saw higher sales of food, drink and overnight accommodation.

However, Fuller’s’ tenanted pub business has seen like-for-like profits decrease by 3% for the period.

Simon Emeny, chief executive of the business, said he has been “very pleased” with company’s recent trading performance amid a period of transition.

Fuller's chief executive Simon Emeny (Fuller's/PA)
Fuller's chief executive Simon Emeny (Fuller's/PA)

The company has undergone a major transformation after it completed the sale of its brewing business to Japan’s Asahi for £250 million last year.

Fuller’s is set to move into a new headquarters following the move and is also moving onto new IT systems.

Following the brewing business sale, the company returned some capital to shareholders but has also invested in new pubs through refurbishments and acquisitions.

Last year, the pub group expanded with the £40 million acquisition of Cotswold Inns & Hotels and said work is currently taking place to integrate the recently purchased sites.

Mr Emeny told PA: “It’s a period of transition. We feel daylight is in sight and we don’t see further disruption, but at the moment we are happy to carry on in line with expectations.

“We saw a noticeable bounce after the election and have traded better since then as a result.

“We were hoping for a greater degree of certainty, which we’ve got, but we realise we still face plenty of challenges, whether that be staffing costs or business rates.”