• FY net profits up 1% to GBP96.1m (US$165m)
  • Net sales increase 9% to GBP1.3bn
  • Operating profits fall 13% to GBP229.2m
  • Beer volumes rise 5%
Greene King said its own-brand beer volumes were up

Greene King said its own-brand beer volumes were up

UK pub company and brewer Greene King has said there are “clear signs” of an improving UK economy as full-year profits crept up on rising sales and beer volumes.

Net profits in the 53 weeks to 4 May inched up by 1% to GBP96.1m (US$165m), the Bury St Edmunds-based company said today (3 July). Net sales rose by 9% to GBP1.3bn while operating profits fell 13% to GBP229.2m.

This year's figures were helped by an extra week in the year compared to the 52-week reporting period for fiscal 2013.

The company, which owns 1,914 pubs, restaurants and hotels in the UK, said total volumes in its brewing division were up 5% over the year, with sales rising by 6.5% to GBP189m. Volumes of its core ale brand Old Speckled Hen increased 13%.

Greene King has divested a number of pubs since 2010, when it announced plans to cut its tenanted and leased estate to 1,200 sites. In May, the company reduced that target to 750 to focus on "higher growth areas".

Rooney Anand, Greene King's chief executive, said today: “We have delivered four years of record results since the credit crunch and maintained this momentum over the last 12 months. There are now clear signs that both the UK economic outlook and consumer confidence are improving, although consumers continue to spend cautiously.”

Anand's optimism is in contrast to last year, when Greene King warned of further squeezes on consumer spending.

Shares in Greene King were down 3.5% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.

To read the company's full results, click here.