A BURTON pub giant has revealed prolonged cold weather during the winter months has hampered sales.
Bosses at Spirit Pub Company, based in Centrum 100, told the Mail that in the eight weeks to March 2, sales at its managed pubs fell by 1.1 per cent compared to the same period 12 months ago.
Food sales fell by 0.3 per cent and drink sales plummeted by 3.4 per cent when compared to the previous year.
Mike Tye, chief executive, said: “Recent trading has been impacted by adverse weather conditions and, with the consumer environment remaining challenging, we are redoubling our efforts to improve the retail offer in all areas of our business to give our guests more compelling reasons to visit our pubs.
“Trading conditions were very challenging during the period as a result of the snowfall in January and prolonged cold weather in the second half of February which compared to an unusually dry and mild winter in the prior year.
“Despite the recent sales decline we continue to outperform the market.
“We have now invested in 50 pubs in the year to date, mainly in our John Barras and Fayre & Square brands.
“Following a review of our brand portfolio, our community and high street pubs have been combined in a new Local Pubs division.
“These pubs share a similar guest base and will be predominantly branded as John Barras, with the Original Pub company brand no longer used.
“We remain confident of delivering full year expectations.”
The firm also revealed that in its leased division like for like turnover was down by 2.7 per cent and income down by 4.2 per cent.
Mr Tye added: “Our leased estate was similarly impacted by the challenging weather comparatives.
“We continue to focus on our innovation trials and enabling our licensees to improve performance through sharing our retail expertise and investing in our estate with 38 investments completed in the year to date.
“We are also making good progress disposing of pubs which have limited future potential with a further 12 pubs sold in the period taking the number sold to 20 in the year to date and to 72 in the last 12 months.”
This comes after Punch Taverns, which demerged from Spirit in 2011, revealed that its profits had also been hit by the weather with income dropping by 3.5 per cent.