Young’s boss says food inflation is ‘starting to ease’ as pub chain unveils upturn in annual profits and looks ahead to the Rugby World Cup
- Young’s boss Simon Dodd expects food inflation to be in single digits this year
- The pub chain group saw its revenue rise over 19% in the past 12 months
Young’s jumped by nearly a fifth last year and the pub group is looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup to further bolster its finances.
Sales rose 19.4 per cent to £368.9million in the year to 3 April, against around £309million during the previous 12 months, as the return to normal post-pandemic life helped lift sales.
The Fifa World Cup also helped boost the company’s bottom line, with the group’s adjusted pre-tax profit increasing by 8.1 per cent to £45.2million for the year.
The group also told investors Thursday that some cost pressures it has endured, like food, were ‘starting to ease’.
In charge: Simon Dodd, the boss of Young’s, is looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup
The boss told the PA news agency that it had witnessed a particular easing in food prices.
‘We have seen food cost inflation at around 12 per cent but that is definitely softening and we are hoping that will come down to single digits in the next six months,’ Chief executive Simon Dodd said.
The group enjoyed a boost amid a slew of pub acquisitions across London and Sussex.
However, its operating margin fell to 14.2 per cent, compared to 16.2 per cent last year when it was ‘heavily bolstered’ by government Covid-19 support via business rate reductions, lower VAT rates and grants.
Mr Dodd said: ‘Our business remains highly profitable and over the coming months, as inflation is predicted to soften, we are confident that margins will improve.’
Young’s shares rose today and were up 0.43 per cent or 5.00p to 1,170.00p this afternoon, having fallen by around 10 per cent in the last year.
Dodd added: ‘The positive trading momentum of the first half continued throughout the period, with unwavering customer demand for our outstanding pubs and the unrivalled Young’s experience.
‘The negative impact of the rail strikes did not stand in the way of us achieving numerous record weeks, as sales were boosted by glorious summer sunshine and the first ever winter FIFA World Cup.
‘We were pleased to see a further increase in people visiting our City and Central London pubs alongside positive Christmas trading.
‘Our performance last year was even more impressive given the cost headwinds facing the industry and we are encouraged that some of these pressures are starting to ease.’
Dodd said he had seen a ‘good start’ to the new financial year with sunny weather over Easter and the early May bank holiday. Young’s is also hopeful that the Rugby World Cup will give its business a boost later this year.
Dodd added: ‘We are confident our premium, well-invested predominantly freehold pub estate, alongside our healthy balance sheet, will continue to deliver superior returns for our shareholders.’