Brewer Shepherd Neame sees record turnover

Brewer and pub owner Shepherd Neame has announced a full-year profit increase of almost 40 per cent, driven by record turnover.

The group, Britain's oldest brewer, saw turnover rise by 9.6 per cent to £133 million in the 53 weeks to June 30th.

This helped create pre-tax profit of £9.1 million, an increase of 39.7 per cent on last year's figure.

Sales of the group's beers, which include Spitfire, Asahi Super Dry and Bishops Finger, performed particularly well during the year, growing by 5.2 per cent.

The group's pub and hotel estate also recorded a strong performance, with like-for-like sales at managed premises up 7.6 per cent during the year, comprising a 6.2 per cent rise in liquor sales, 10.9 per cent for food and a seven per cent increase in accommodation sales.

In addition, Shepherd Neame's tenanted pubs returned to growth in the year, with average like-for-like earnings up 0.3 per cent.

Chief executive Jonathan Neame commented: "This has been another successful year for the company.

"Our beer, food and accommodation sales have all enjoyed strong growth for the second year in a row and the tenanted estate performance has been encouraging."

The company has also helped drive hospitality recruitment over the past year, investing in seven new pubs and hotels.

It has also completed the acquisition of the Royal Wells Hotel, Tunbridge Wells, since the year end.

"Our strategy to invest in our pubs and brands during the economic downturn has strengthened the company, improved its competitive position and enhanced our reputation with consumers," said Mr Neame.

"Recent pub acquisitions have been successful and this has enabled us to take another step forward this year with some further excellent purchases, which provides a good platform for the future."

But despite the positive results, the group's chairman M H Templeman warned that the government's alcohol taxation policy is damaging the industry.

"The government continues to maintain its policy that alcohol taxes should increase by two per cent above inflation," he said. "This level of taxation impacts margins and so reduces the industry's capacity to invest and create jobs."

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency in the hospitality industry