City Pub Group cheers sales jump amid expansion

City Pub Group has cheered investors after sales jumped by more than a third since the start of the year.

The pub operator, which owns 45 sites, reported a 35% surge in sales for the 19 weeks to May 12 2019, as it was buoyed by new openings.

It opened 11 new sites last year and has recently acquired The Hoste hotel in Burnham Market, a 53-bedroom site with spa, cinema and gym.

The group said it is continuing to drive forward with expansion plans, and it intends to swell to between 65 and 70 sites by mid-2021.

City Pub Group’s portfolio is currently focused around London, but the company said it is seeking more pubs across southern England and Wales.

Its expansion is expected to reach 50 sites in the near future as it looks to open another five pubs in coming months, including Aragon House in Parsons Green, due to be opened next week.

Pre-tax profits jumped 60% to £5.1 million in 2018 as it benefited from openings in London, Cardiff, Brighton and Cambridge.

Clive Watson, executive chairman of the group, said: “We have enjoyed continued strong momentum since the start of the year.

“Whilst still early in the year, the Board believes the Group is well-placed to meet its expectations for the year as a whole.

“We enjoy a strong balance sheet which enables quick and decisive decision making to purchase development sites or existing trading sites that can be improved in a softening market for acquisitions.”

Peter Smedley, FinnCap research director, said: “Looking broadly, the relatively robust trading of the UK pubs and bars market as well as recent acquisition activity alongside the high competition for sites in the South East and London, means there is good scope for continued consolidation of this fragmented industry.”

Shares were up 1.1% at 229.9p after early trading.

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