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Pub group Young’s has hailed a “great start” to recent trading despite pressure on consumer finances.
The company, which runs more than 200 pubs and hotels, said spending per customer has grown recently amid increased demand for premium drinks despite inflationary pressures on household incomes.
Patrick Dardis, departing chief executive of the business, told the PA news agency he was optimistic about trading patterns.
“People might be going out on slightly fewer occasions but we think people are trading up to make the most of their evenings out,” he said.
“We’ve had an 85% increase in cocktails sales, 26% rise for rose, and we are selling more magnums of wine.
“We recognise that bills are going up – it’s the same for us too – but we think we offer really strong value and the past few weeks are showing good signs.”
Young’s reported sales of the past 13 weeks have been 17% higher than pre-pandemic levels from the same period in 2019.
It came as the group reported a surge in revenues to £309 million for the year to the end of March after benefiting from the easing of pandemic restrictions.
We are looking forward to the extended Jubilee weekend where we hope to break more records. Young's are firmly back in business, with the firepower to deliver further growth
Patrick Dardis, chief executive
The pub firm also revealed an operating profit of £51.7 million for the year, having posted a £34.5 million loss a year earlier.
Nevertheless, Young’s said it took a £5 million hit from rising energy prices and has hedged its utilities contracts until 2024.
Mr Dardis added: “We have found ourselves navigating challenges at nearly every turn, whether it be storms, floods and Tube strikes, or the unwelcome arrival of the Omicron variant which hampered our Christmas trading.
“I am delighted to announce a strong set of results that marks a return to normalised profitability with unrestricted trading towards the end of the year.
“We are looking forward to the extended Jubilee weekend where we hope to break more records. Young’s are firmly back in business, with the firepower to deliver further growth.”