Profits surge at Bury St Edmunds’ pub group as fears grow Brexit vote will hit consumer spending

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King.

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Pub giant Greene King of Bury St Edmunds has seen pre-tax profits soar by about 61 per cent but has warned that Brexit is likely to hit customer confidence.

The alarm has been sounded by chief executive Rooney Anand who says that uncertainty in the run-up to the referendum left consumers seemingly reluctant to spend.

Greene King's IPA.

Greene King's IPA.

He said: “Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the increasingly uncertain trading environment is likely to weigh on consumer sentiment in the near term.

But he added: “However, Greene King has a strong track record of performing well in challenging trading environments and we have levers to pull within our business to refocus our investment and help limit the indirect impact from lower consumer confidence.

“In addition, we have limited exposure to European sales, although we have some exposure to foreign exchange rate movements to mitigate the impact of this as far as possible.”

Mr Anand’s comments came as the brewer announced a 60.6 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £189.8 million for the year to 1 May.

In addition, revenue has broken through the £2 billion mark for the first time - reaching £2.1 billion.

The company’s integration of rival Spirit, recently acquired for £774 million, has been successful. Like-for-like sales increased by 1.5 per cent - ahead of the market’s 1.3 per cent.

Mr Anand said: “It has been a transformational year for Greene King.

“We completed the acquisition of Spirit Pub Company and reached the milestone of £2 billion revenue. We have delivered growth across each of the three divisions, outperforming the market in a challenging environment, while making significant progress in combining the best of both businesses to build Britain’s best pub company.”