* H1 revenue increases about 3.8 pct to 406 mln stg
* Like-for-like sales at managed business rise 4.8 pct
* Shares up 3.5 pct
(Adds CEO & analyst comments, details and share movement)
By Aastha Agnihotri
April 24 Spirit Pub Company Plc said
like-for-like sales at its managed pubs showed robust growth in
March as a recovery in consumer spending encouraged more people
to dine out.
The company, which operates pubs under brands such as Chef &
Brewer, Fayre & Square and Flaming Grill, said on Thursday that
like-for-like sales at managed pubs rose 8.3 percent in the four
weeks to March 29.
The monthly results were also helped by warmer weather
compared with March last year, which was exceptionally cold.
Spirit's managed pubs, which have been pushing their food
menus to attract customers, account for nearly 90 percent of the
"Food is increasingly driving people to our pubs," Chief
Executive Mike Tye told Reuters.
"However, when people come to eat with us, they also drink,
which is why there is not a greater ratio of food to drink."
Shares in the company, which was spun off from Punch Taverns
Plc in 2011, were up 3.5 percent at 81.18 pence at 1039
GMT on the London Stock Exchange.
Revenue rose 3.8 percent to 406 million pounds ($681
million) in the six months ended March 1 from a year earlier.
Like-for-like net sales at managed pubs rose 4.8 percent in
the first half, with food sales outpacing drinks sales.
Numis Securities said Spirit Pub's outperformance in
like-for-like sales against data compiled by the Peach Tracker -
the sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant industry - had
increased to more than 3 percent during the last eight weeks.
The summer months typically account for more than a third of
Spirit Pub's full-year profit, but this summer is expected to be
particularly beneficial as it includes the Football World Cup.
The pub operator said last month it expected like-for-like
sales in its managed business to rise 3.0-3.5 percent this year,
benefiting in part from the government's extension of licensing
hours during the football tournament starting in June.
"Since the government has relaxed licensing hours, it comes
as a big opportunity. People do watch other games, but the real
interest lies in England (football team) so we are expected to
benefit from this," Tye said.
Spirit Pub also stands to gain from the one-pence-per-pint
cut on beer duty and the freezing of a duty on spirits and cider
announced last month.
($1 = 0.5960 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by
Gopakumar Warrier and Ted Kerr)