Pub firm Young’s has said it expects to capitalise on a “busy staycation summer” after reporting recent sales ahead of its targets.
Shares in the company nudged higher after it told shareholders that trading since the publication of its full-year result on May 20 have “continued to be ahead of the board’s expectations”.
The company, which operates more than 270 pubs, said total sales for the 13 weeks from April 12 to July 12 were at 95% of the levels from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic struck.
On April 12, the group opened 144 pubs for outdoor trading only, with the remainder of sites welcoming customers again from May 17, amid the reopening of indoor areas although some restrictions were in place.
In an update ahead of its annual general meeting, company chairman Stephen Goodyear said the group was “disappointed” it was unable ease restrictions on June 21.
However, he said its pubs are now able to operate “close to normal” following the latest phase of the Government road map on Monday.
Young’s said it is “optimistic” for the current financial year and believes its “large number of bookings” for weddings, parties and other events will boosting takings amid “another busy staycation summer”.
Mr Goodyear said: “Our trading has benefited from significant pent-up demand, as well as from the major capex programme undertaken in our pubs, hotels and outdoor areas and the delivery of some truly transformational projects.
“We are starting to see the benefit from our recent major developments, the majority of which were carried out and completed while we were closed during lockdown.
“We will continue to focus on our strategy of running premium, differentiated and well-invested pubs and hotels.
“The strength of our balance sheet leaves us well-placed to make further investments and generate good returns for the long term.”
Shares in the business were 0.5% higher at 1,537.8p in early trading on Tuesday.