The first half of the financial year resulted in a good sales performance and reasonable growth in profits and free cash flow.
The biggest danger to the pub industry is the continuing tax disparity between supermarkets and pubs. Thanks mainly to the work of Jacques Borelís VAT Club, there is a growing realisation among politicians, the media and the public that a level tax playing field will create more jobs and taxes for the country.
In the six weeks to 9 March 2014, like-for-like sales increased by 6.7%, with total sales increasing by 11.6%.
We expect taxation and input costs to rise and the comparisons against a strong second half result in the last financial year will be more difficult. Despite these factors, the company continues to expect to achieve a reasonable outcome in the current financial year and has a solid platform for future growth.