Pub operators Wear Inns on the acquisition trial as turnover grows to £13.4m

The County Durham pub group operates 26 venues across the North East and Yorkshire

John Weir and John Sands, chief executive offficer and chairman of Wear Inns
John Weir and John Sands, chief executive offficer and chairman of Wear Inns

Pub Group Wear Inns has grown turnover by more than 14% thanks to like-for-like sales growth.

The County Durham firm, which operates 17 pubs across the North East and nine in Yorkshire, said turnover had risen from £11.75m to £13.4m in its 2014 financial year.

Total losses of £204,000 reflected consolidation of expenditure on 11 pubs the firm acquired in 2012, and increase in depreciation charges and spending on refurbishment of its portfolio.

The Castle Eden-headquartered group, which employs 265 people, now intends to acquire up to three new pubs in coming months, adding to its 26 venue-strong estate.

Gross trading profit was £4.9m – up 12.5% on the previous year – driven by an impressive rise in food sales of 26.2%.

Managing director John Weir said the firm was very satisfied with its latest set of results, and looked forward to more developments in the year to March 31, 2015.

He said: “We have just completed the refurbishment of all the pubs, the last being The Porter Cottage in Sheffield, and we may be looking to buy around three pubs in the first quarter of 2015 and two further later in the year.”

Mr Weir said the 11 pubs acquired in 2012 had seen like-for-like sales grow by 8%, with further growth in the other pubs.

Meanwhile the company has made it on to the inaugural Investec Mid Market 100 list - ranking the fastest growing companies in the UK with a turnover of more than £10m.

It follows the London Stock Exchange highlighting the company in its report, 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, celebrating the country’s most dynamic and fastest-growing small and medium sized businesses.

Full details of the Mid Market 100, an initiative created by Investec bank and data specialists Duedil, will be revealed later in the year but Mr Weir said the company’s inclusion was testament to the company’s strategy.

He added: “Growing our cask ale offering has been a great success – we are supplied by 12 microbreweries in the North East, and a further six in Yorkshire – while the growth in our food trade has been particularly pleasing.

“We are looking at adding more premium products plus a selection of American craft ales in some of the pubs and improving further our food offering - the range of dishes and the way it is presented - but still in keeping with our mantra of providing great value all day, every day.

“Our pubs are very much part of the local community so we will continue to support and promote local produce from local suppliers. I would like to thank all our staff for their efforts, our suppliers and our customers for their support.”

Mr Weir also warned of the looming threat to the pub trade from supermarkets with low-cost alcohol offerings.

He added: “The company is on a sound financial footing but we never under-estimate the challenges we face. For example, while we welcome Government action to limit the low price of alcohol in supermarkets to duty plus VAT, the major supermarkets do not appear to have changed their habits.

“During the football World Cup we saw particularly low cost offers. It is the sort of behaviour which has seen too many traditional pubs forced out of business.”

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