Punch Taverns profits down 20%


Profits have dropped by 20% at Punch Taverns. The business, one of the UK’s largest pub owners with 4,800 leased premises, said on Thursday that first-half profits fell by £8m to £33m on revenues down 5% at £265m.

The group blamed the result on the 1,800 pubs that it is looking to sell or close, while insisting that the majority of the estate is performing well. However, like-for-like gross profits in its core estate of 3,000 pubs dipped 2.1%.

Punch, which is in the middle of a turnaround plan that involves selling its worst-performing sites, said it was on track to close between 400 and 500 outlets this financial year. It demerged its managed arm into a separate company, Spirit Group, in August, but despite years of uninspiring news, the company remains outwardly upbeat and points to the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the European football championships and the Olympic Games as events that might boost its fortunes in the second half of the financial year.

Roger Whiteside, Punch chief executive, said: “Despite weaker consumer market conditions in recent months, our teams have worked hard to contain costs and deliver profits in line with our expectations for the first half and we remain on track to meet our full-year profit expectations.”

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