(Adds details, shares, analyst comments)
Feb 10 Pub operator Greene King Plc
posted a 1.1 percent rise in comparable sales for the 40 weeks
to Feb. 5 on strong trading during Christmas, but said growth
was muted in November and January.
Like-for-like sales for the three Christmas weeks of Dec.19
to Jan.8 grew 4.5 percent, aided by strong growth in London,
Greene King said.
The company, which brews ales such as Greene King IPA, Old
Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, said own-brewed volume for the
40-week period fell 4.2 percent.
The brewer reiterated its warning about continued economic
uncertainty and significant cost pressures ahead.
In November, it had warned that expected government
initiatives like the national living wage, minimum wage,
apprenticeship levy and proposed increases in business rates
would increase cost pressure in the hospitality industry.
The company had then reported a 1.3 percent growth in
like-for-like sales for the 24 weeks to Oct. 16.
The Suffolk-based brewer, which operates around 3,029 pubs,
restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland, said
it planned to dispose 50-60 pubs this year, raising proceeds of
about 30-40 million pounds ($37-$50 million).
Greene King said it has made further progress in integrating
the Spirit Pub business, which it bought in 2014 for 774 million
pound ($968.3 million). reut.rs/2gwfqt9
Third quarter trading is satisfactory, but has slowed
slightly since second quarter and has not firmed as expected,
analysts at Panmure Gordon & Co wrote in a client note.
The brokerage slashed its target price on the stock to 850
pence from 1050 pence.
Shares in the company were down 1.5 percent to 690.5 pence
by 0945 GMT, reversing some of its earlier losses. The stock had
fallen as much as 3.4 percent in the session.
($1 = 0.7994 pounds)
(Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar
Warrier and Amrutha Gayathri)