Hall & Woodhouse announces annual results

Hall & Woodhouse announces that underlying profit before tax recovered in the year to 28th January 2023 to £4.4 million (2022: £1.6 million).  Total Profit before Tax was £10.4 million (£11.2 million) as it again benefitted from profits on disposal of non-strategic assets and the marking to market of its interest rate swaps.  Net debt rose to £55.7 million (2022: £45.3 million) as it completed the purchase of three new Managed Houses (the Red Barn, Woolacombe, the Wiremill, Lingfield and the Royal Lion, Lyme Regis), opened the Frog, Mindenhurtst and maintained its investment across its Managed House and Business Partner estate.

Anthony Woodhouse, Chairman said: ‘Our post pandemic plan was to return to close to normal levels of trading and profitability but, as I warned last year, the terrible war in Ukraine had a profound effect on the economy with rapid inflation not seen since the 1980s.  Although revenue levels were encouraging, margins were squeezed as costs and wages rose at a greater pace than we were able to pass on to our guests and customers.  In this environment the profit outturn was a creditable performance, although still well below pre pandemic levels.

‘Our Managed House business, where our results are more operationally geared to the volatile external environment, suffered the brunt of the margin squeeze.

‘Business Partnerships had a solid year performing as expected, showing the robustness of this business model.  We have a high quality estate with high quality Business Partners with who we genuinely work in partnership.  We were delighted to be awarded the Publican Tenanted Pub Company of the year in recognition of this.

‘We continued to reap the benefits of our well established Badger and Rio brands and our world class brewing operation.  Although off trade volumes fell as expected as the on trade reopened, this was offset by the recovery in trade volumes and new contract and own label business.

‘In challenging times, it becomes clear whether organisations are committed to their purpose and values.  Last year the Company demonstrated its commitment clearly.  Two examples amongst many that I would highlight are the continued adherence to paying the Real Living Wage as a minimum and the donating and raising of over £600,000 to local good causes.  We were honoured to receive the PubAid Corporate Community Hero Award at the All Party Parliamentary  Beer Group Awards.

‘My thanks as always to Matt Kearsey and the team for their skill, relentless drive and boundless enthusiasm as they navigate these turbulent times whilst ensuring the Company is in the best possible shape to prosper in the long term for the benefit of all stakeholders.

‘Apart from a heavily weather affected July, trading since the year end has been very encouraging with strong like-for-like sales growth across the estate.  It is clear that the divergence in performance between well invested pubs with the right offer and correct team levels and those not in that position is becoming increasingly marked.’


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