UK. Christmas boosts Greene King’s sales

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British pub and breweries group Greene King Plc reported a rise in sales for the 36 weeks to Jan. 6, buoyed by strong trading during the Christmas period.

Greene King, which operates the Hungry Horse, Old English Inns, Eating Inn and Loch Fyne Restaurants, said like-for-like retail sales increased 3.7 percent for the 36 weeks, boosted by a 4.1 percent rise in food sales.

The sales climbed 2.8 percent in the last six weeks, said the Suffolk-based company, which operates about 2,300 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.

It reported sales of 2.7 million pounds ($4.4 million) on Christmas day, up 6.8 percent from last year.

Pubs in the UK are benefiting from a rising demand for casual dining as price-conscious customers prefer to eat out at pubs rather than highly priced restaurants. Greene King said it does not expect conditions for the UK consumer to improve in 2013.

Smaller rival Restaurant Group Plc said last week that full-year turnover rose 9 percent and it expected profit to be slightly ahead of market forecasts.

Greene King’s shares, which have risen about 33 percent in the past year, closed at 648.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Friday.