UK brewer and pub company Greene King found a festive escape from the global economic gloom with record Christmas sales.Customers sick of a diet of austerity broke out in style, chief executive Rooney Anand revealed.
The Bury St Edmunds company’s share price was up 5p to 490.80p on early trading.
Anand said: “It is clear that even in these difficult times, customers still look for enjoyment and some respite from the financial pressures they are facing.
“Across the UK, the pub becomes the real heart of the community during Christmas. Supported by better weather conditions than in the previous year, we saw record Christmas bookings and our like-for-like sales in Christmas week were up 17 per cent.
“Food sales were £1.7m on Christmas Day alone and we sold 365,000 Christmas meals in December – another record for Greene King.”
In an interim management statement for the 37 weeks to January 15, Greene King said that retail like-for-like sales in the trading period were up 8.2 per cent and food like-for-like sales up 11.1 per cent.
Anand said: “This was another strong performance driven by the strength of our business and our continued commitment to providing unrivalled value, service and quality to our customers. We continue to expect that full year margins in Greene King Retail will be in line with the previous financial year.
“Overall, our profit, cashflow and balance sheet remain in line with our expectations.
“Although we expect another difficult environment for the UK consumer in 2012, we remain confident that we will continue to deliver growth and value to our shareholders, driven by the strength of business, our retail expansion strategy and our focus on offering unrivalled value, service and quality to our customers.”