Fuller’s loses £5m in sales from railway worker strikes


Fuller’s says tube and rail strikes cost it £5m in sales but London-focused pub chain’s profits still soar by 76%

  • Fuller’s turnover climbed by a third to £336.6m for the 53 weeks ending 1 April 
  • The firm said the strikes were ‘particularly detrimental’ on its C. London outlets
  • Its sales over the festive trading period were 5% down on pre-pandemic levels

Pub and hotel chain Fuller, Smith & Turner has estimated it lost over £5million in sales from rail strikes during the last financial year.

Industrial action by tube and train workers led many commuters to work from home, which had a ‘particularly detrimental’ impact on its Central London establishments, the group told investors on Thursday.  

Fuller’s has already blamed the strikes the strikes for weaker-than-hoped sales over the crucial festive trading period, which were down 5 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

Difficulties: Even with an absence of Covid-related restrictions, Fuller's said the trading environment was 'very challenging' due to major inflationary pressures

Difficulties: Even with an absence of Covid-related restrictions, Fuller’s said the trading environment was ‘very challenging’ due to major inflationary pressures 

But overall turnover climbed by a third to £336.6million for the 53 weeks ending 1 April thanks to the return of office workers and international tourists in significant numbers.

The London-based business revealed that like-for-like revenues at its Central London sites jumped by 40.1 per cent, while they grew by 17.5 per cent at its managed pubs and hotels business.

Footfall at the company’s outlets for most of the previous two years was severely affected by temporary closures, capacity limits and rigid quarantine rules for inbound travellers.

But even with an absence of Covid-related restrictions, Fuller’s said the trading environment was ‘very challenging’ due to major inflationary pressures.

The firm has seen a £6.6million surge in its total energy bills, as well as a noticeable increase in food and drink costs.

Further cost hikes came from the UK government’s boost to the National Living Wage and the Bank of England raising interest rates on multiple successive occasions.

Nonetheless, Fuller’s said its adjusted pre-tax profits still soared by more than three-quarters to £12.7million. It also saw a 30 per cent bump in dividends per share.

For the first ten weeks of the new fiscal year, the group observed a 13.9 per cent increase in like-for-like sales.  

Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, said: ‘I am more optimistic about the future than I have been since before the pandemic. While the well-documented inflationary environment has been a challenge, there are positive signs on the horizon. 

‘In addition, we are ever hopeful of a resolution to the ongoing train strikes to allow us to further benefit from the increasing numbers of office workers and international tourists returning to the Capital.’

Trade body UKHospitality has estimated the rail strikes have cost the hospitality sector around £3.25billion since they started last year, including £1.5billion just last December, which coincided with the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar. 

Fuller, Smith & Turner shares were 5.1 per cent up at £5.56 just before markets closed on Thursday, making them one of the five best performers on the FTSE All-Share Index.





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