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MARKET REPORT: Cheers! Pubs look ahead to a warm summer as drinkers return

City toast: Young's, which has 227 pubs, said fewer people were coming to the office five days a week as sales rose in London from Tuesday to Thursday

Pub group Young’s have welcomed the return of workers and tourists across London as they look ahead to a hot summer and the Rugby World Cup.

The company, which owns 227 pubs, said fewer people were coming to the office five days a week as sales increased in the capital from Tuesday to Thursday.

Revenue rose 19.4% to £368.9m in the year to April 3, while profits fell 14% to £36.2m.

Business was boosted last year as Young’s hosted customers to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, pay tribute on the day of her funeral and watch the inaugural Winter World Cup of football.

As soaring inflation and rail strikes took their toll, Young’s remained optimistic about its outlook over the next 12 months. Sales are up 4.8% since early April, thanks to warm Easter weather and the early May bank holiday.

City toast: Young's, which has 227 pubs, said fewer people were coming to the office five days a week as sales rose in London from Tuesday to Thursday

City toast: Young’s, which has 227 pubs, said fewer people were coming to the office five days a week as sales rose in London from Tuesday to Thursday

Boss Simon Dodd said there was “huge excitement” for the Rugby World Cup in the autumn. The shares rose 0.4%, or 5p, to 11p.

Fevertree also toasted a strong start to the year, with the tonic maker’s UK market share in hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes hitting a record high in the first quarter.

He said the summer would be a key trading period and reiterated his guidance for the year despite “high” cost pressures. The shares slipped 0.8%, or 11p, to 1,423p.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.7%, or 56.23 points, to 7,570.87 and the FTSE 250 fell 0.5%, or 90.41 points, to 18,840.75.

United Utilities has faced a cocktail of misfortunes ranging from rising electricity and chemical costs to falling consumption.

The North West water supplier said its revenue fell 2.1% to £1.82billion in the year to the end of March, while profits fell 27 .7% to £440.8m.

Despite this, he expects his income to rise by around £150m in the current financial year. It slipped 1.3%, or 13.5p, to 1001.5p.

Hill & Smith added 4.8%, or 66p to 1,432p after the crash barrier maker said profits were on track to beat City forecasts after a strong performance across all three divisions.

Stock Watch – Headlam

Headlam plunged after the flooring company’s profits were squeezed by lower household demand and weaker price increases.

Revenue for the first four months of the year increased by 3.4% compared to the same period in 2022.

But a drop in real estate activity and a moderation in price increases eroded profits.

“Overall earnings performance remains dependent on consumer sentiment in the residential market,” he said.

The shares fell 9.9%, or 26p, to 237p.

It expects earnings to top the high end of the £105.2m to £110.2m range forecast by analysts.

The group’s turnover in the first four months of the year was 18% higher than in the same period in 2022.

There was good news for Qinetiq after orders for the defense firm soared 41% to a record £1.7bn in the 12 months to the end of March.

Shares climbed 2.2%, or 8p, to 378p as he said the rise was due to governments prioritizing defense spending.

Johnson Matthey recorded a slump in annual revenue and profit in the year ending late March amid volatile precious metal prices.

The chemicals giant has warned it will take around £50million if prices remain volatile. Its stock fell 3.2%, or 60p, to 1,801p.

The London Stock Exchange Group is looking for a chief financial officer after Anna Manz, who landed the job in 2020, announced her intention to step down in May next year.

It will assume the same role outside the financial services sector. The shares rose 0.4%, or 36p, to 8338p.

Workspace gained 3.7%, or 17.8p, to 496.6p after the office space provider’s rental income rose 34% to £116.6m in the course of the year until the end of March.

It recorded a loss of £37.5million, after making a profit of £124million the previous year, following a decline in the value of its property.

But the annual dividend was increased by 20% to 25.8 pa.

Tate & Lyle, the ingredients maker, said its profit rose 13% to £253million in the year to the end of March.

He coped with rising costs by raising his prices. The shares rose 1.9%, or 15p, to 799.5p.

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