January 25, 2018 / 7:31 AM / a year ago

Pub group Greene King's 37-week comparable sales dip 1.4 percent

(Reuters) - British pub operator Greene King Plc (GNK.L) on Thursday said comparable sales over the recent 37-week period to Jan. 14 fell 1.4 percent as poor weather dented sales.

The brewer joined pub group Marston’s (MARS.L) in flagging a difficult winter period. On Tuesday, Marston said business during Christmas was marred by snowy and icy weather.

Shares of Greene King fell 1.2 percent to 520.2 pence at 0806 GMT.

However, Greene King, which brews ales such as Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, said comparable sales in the two weeks covering Christmas and New Year’s eve rose 1.6 percent.

Excluding the bad weather, like-for-like sales in the two-week period would have been up 3.4 percent, the company said.

“Either side of the two Christmas weeks sales were slower, reflecting the tough underlying trading environment

and additional snow impact”, the company said.

Greene King also said it remained on track to cut costs of 40-45 million pounds this year.

The Suffolk-based brewer has been battling rising costs due to the government’s National Living Wage initiative, higher property prices and unfavourable currency exchange rate.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan and Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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