City Pub Group new board addition to support expansion plans, says City broker

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City Pub Group PLC (AIM:CPC) announced on Thursday that Holly Elliott will join as its new chief financial officer, which house broker Liberum says will support expansion plans.


Elliott, who is replacing Tarquin Williams, brings with her “a wealth of experience” gained from multiple finance roles across several “high growth and expanding leisure and hospitality businesses”, analysts said.


READ: The City Pub Group appoints ex Five Guys, Caffe Nero as chief financial officer


She is joining from Honest Burger, where she was interim chief financial officer of the 50-strong restaurant business.


Prior to this, she spent four years holding the same role at Five Guys, helping oversee its rapid expansion to around 160 company-owned restaurants throughout the UK, France, Germany and Spain, having spent 12 years at Caffe Nero in various finance management level roles.


“We see this appointment as a big positive, which alongside the addition of Toby Smith as chief operating officer last year, significantly broadens the depth of experience across the management team,” analysts at Liberum said.


“In particular, it should support and add expertise to the business as it looks to scale to 100+ pubs from 46 currently.”


As for trading, Liberum noted that the trading performance and recovery over the summer months has been robust and gathering pace, with revenue at around 90% of 2019 levels between the reopening of indoor trading on the 17 May up to the middle of September.


“We estimate that this includes .5% benefit from the reduced VAT rate on the 39% of sales that are non-liquor with price rises planned as the rate ratchets back up. An important driver of this encouraging performance has been the investment in its accommodation offer (>200 rooms) over recent years which has helped it capitalise on the current UK staycation boom, and seen accommodation sales mix increase to 11% of total sales year to date (7% in 2019). This comes with the benefit of a higher drop through to profits, thereby supporting overall profit margins,” analysts said.


“This initial trading recovery is broadly in line with the wider UK pub market. September saw a notable pick-up in footfall to city centre sites, in line with increasing return of office workers. This bodes well for a balanced trading recovery across the estate in the fourth quarter and into financial year 2022.”


Shares rose 1% to 116p on Thursday afternoon.

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