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In its Managed Pubs and Hotels division, Fuller’s has announced like-for-like sales growth of 4.1% in the 42 weeks to 21 January 2011. In the last nine weeks of that period, sales were up 5.1%. Like-for-like profits in the Tenanted Inns division increased 1% and own beer volumes for the Fuller’s Beer Company grew 1% for the 42 week period.

The company said that its balance sheet and cash generation

remained strong. As at 31 December 2011, net debt was £109.4m, up from £92.5m at the half year, following the acquisition of five pubs from Marston’s on 1 November 2011 for £16m, the purchase of the freehold of one of the company’s formerly leasehold sites, The Old Fish Market in Bristol, and £5.1m of share buy-backs in the quarter. Fuller’s enjoyed a strong Christmas, with over 40 managed pubs having record weeks, and the company reports trade was also good in January. Fuller’s says it remains “cautious about the outlook for 2012”, given the high level of economic uncertainty in the UK, but it is “confident that our acquisitions pipeline and refurbishment programme will continue to give us good momen- tum going into a summer of sport and celebration that should lift the national mood”.


Kornicis Group, the operator of Jamies Wine Bars, Smollensky’s, Henry J Bean’s and a number of independent City sites, has report- ed a 24% sales increase in the five weeks to 31 December 2011. The strong performance, despite concerns about the economic down- turn, included a 15% increase in like-for-like sales in the five-week period. Jamies, one of the group’s key brand

formats, saw like-for-like sales up 20% on 2010 with encouraging pre-booked numbers and strong walk-up trade. Central London sites saw a particularly strong performance, further boosted by the newly acquired sites at Ludgate Hill and St Mary at Hill. Kornicis chief executive Nick Tamblyn commented: “Much has already been said concerning the snow effect in the previous year when comparing like-for-like perfor- mance for the Christmas period just ended. Notwithstanding the soft comparables of 2010, these are impressive results and Kor- nicis will continue focusing its future growth into the central London area.” Mark Owen of Kornicis’ principal share- holder NBGI Private Equity added: “This market-leading festive trading performance at Kornicis has fully justified our ongoing backing for the management team and brands. Further funding is in place to con- tinue the expansion of the Kornicis brands, and to accelerate the group’s growth.” Kornicis Group currently runs 20 bars

and restaurants, with a geographic focus on London and under three main brands. The company was formed in August 2008, when NBGI PE acquired 17 bars and restaurants from the Food and Drink Group.


National Pubwatch is extending its efforts to encourage and recognise safer social drinking environments in all licensed premises throughout the UK by partnering with drinks giant Diageo GB to launch the inaugural Diageo National Pubwatch Awards. The awards will be judged by the National Pubwatch Committee who will be looking for evidence that the ap- plicants have been effective in promoting social responsibility through the introduction of local initiatives. A total of three Diageo National Pubwatch Awards will be presented to the winners at the All Party Parliamen-

tary Beer Group Dinner, which is being held on 16 May 2012 in London. Steve Baker, chairman of National Pubwatch, said: “Launching an awards programme is testimony to how much the National Pubwatch scheme has achieved over the last 14 years. It is a trusted partner for helping to create safer night-time environments in the on-trade for UK consumers. We want to celebrate nationally the good work that is taking place locally across the UK. With the support of Diageo GB we are able to further spread the word of this important work.”



SWAINE PROMOTED AT FULLER’S Fuller’s operations director Jonathon Swaine has been promoted to manag- ing director of Fuller’s Inns and will join Fuller’s board. He will take on operational responsibility for the estate of 366 pubs and hotels, reporting to group managing director Simon Emeny. He joined Fuller’s in 2005, having held positions at Carlton Communications and Molson Coors.


Mitchells & Butlers business development director Kevin Todd is leaving after 25 years, having taken early retirement. Pre- vious directors of marketing Ian Dunstall and Simon Cope have been promoted to the roles of marketing director and in- sight and innovation director respectively. Branding, insight and advertising director Una Beck Johnson will leave the company.

CHEF OF THE YEAR CONTEST RETURNS The National Chef of the Year competition celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and is now open for 2012 entries. Former winners include Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargeant and Simon Hustone. For more details visit En- tries must be received by 1 May 2012.

LARGEST SPIRITS COLLECTION TO BE SOLD A Dutch man who claims to own the “world’s largest collection of old liquors” is to sell the lot for $8m. The collection of over 5,000 bottles includes cognac dating back to 1789, pre- cious whiskies, armagnacs, ports, madeira and rare liqueurs. The 63-year-old Bay van der Bunt chose to sell up because he and his wife have no heirs to care for the collec- tion. More details at


Businesses appointing administrators in the hotel and licensed trade increased by 29.2% from Q3 to Q4 of 2011, according to Baker Tilly’s analysis of the latest official insolvency statistics. The continuation of the upward trend previously reported be- tween Q2 to Q3 of 2011 means the sector is of the worst hit by the UK’s economic woes. Hotels are primarily responsible for the increase, with the number of adminis- tration appointments increasing from 51 to 80 year-on-year (an increase of 56.9%).


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