A Young’s pop-up pub close to the Olympic Park took record sales in the second week of the Games, which helped to boost first-half revenues by 11pc overall, the brewer said on Thursday.
The group’s “excellent” results for the six months to October 1 showed revenue up 10.7pc to £100.2m, largely driven by the Olympics effect in the second quarter. The sales boost offset weak sales in the first three months from the wettest summer on record, the company said.
One of the brewer’s temporary pubs, the Cow, situated next to the Olympic Park, shattered all previous sales records in the second week of the Games, with revenues of £202,000 ten times the weekly takings of the average managed Young’s pub. Profit before tax was £13.9m, up 11.2pc year-on-year.
Stephen Goodyear, Young’s chief executive, said the summer was one of “contrasting fortunes”; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was a write-off weather-wise, but the sunny Olympics drove huge sales for the brewer.
“We had a difficult first quarter with the wet weather. On Jubilee day, we had 14 pubs along the river, I can only imagine what might have been had the sun have been shining. But the weather is unpredictable and during the Olympics we did rather well.”
Mr Goodyear said the group would continue its strategy of buying single pubs or small chains to be well-placed for changeable weather in future. He would also consider setting up more temporary “pop-up” pubs following the success of the Cow.
“It’s good to be alert to new things and new ideas, we’ll be looking at more pop-ups in the months ahead.”
Mr Goodyear said the dividend had gone up for the 16th year running, by 5.1pc to 7.02p, despite “continued caution on the part of the consumer”.
Analysts said Young’s first-half results were strong but not “straightforward” given sporting and royal events and the dire weather affecting sales. However, Nick Batram at Peel Hunt, who placed “buy” on the stock, said: “It is clear that the strategy to focus on a high quality premium offering continues to deliver for the group.”
Panmure Gordon reiterated its “buy” recommendation and said the trading outlook continues to be strong, with opportunities to grow.
Mr Goodyear said: “These excellent results reflect some benefit from the extraordinary events we have seen in London this summer; they have also been achieved despite some periods of truly awful weather. They are therefore testament to the ability of our people to make the very best of our high quality and well invested estate whatever the circumstances.”