Restaurants cafes and bars feel the pinching, complaining about higher costs and cash-tied customers. City Pub Group is different.
Recommended by Midas in February with 167p, the shares are now 227½p, so they have increased by more than 36 percent in just seven months.
The company is expanding rapidly, chief executive Clive Watson is ambitious and brokers believe the shares should continue to rise.
Watson has form. He founded Capital Pub Group in 2000, built the company before, during and after the recession and sold it for £ 93 million in 2011. Capital was a chain of London pubs, each with their own distinctive, local appeal. City Pub Group follows a similar premise.
Instead of bringing in food, like many rivals do, City focuses on drinks, the old-fashioned reason to go to the pub – with subtle modern touches, such as non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks, craft beers and specialist gins.
Watson and his team also benefit from decades of experience in the industry, acquiring pubs that have been neglected by previous owners, refurbishing them and giving them a new lease of life.
In February, the group had 34 pubs. Today there are 41 pubs in cities such as Norwich, Cambridge and Exeter, and also in London.
The company also benefits from the misery of rivals. Watson can rebuild sites cheaply and soon there will be five more.
Results from the first half are announced on Thursday and brokers expect strong figures, benefiting from good underlying growth, with a further boost from the World Cup and the warm weather.
For the full year, sales are expected to increase by 20 percent to £ 49m, with profits increasing by more than 70 percent to £ 5.5m. A dividend of 2.5 p has been used, against 2.3 p in 2017.
Midas pronunciation: City Pub Group has come a long way, but the best is yet to come. When the company hovered, it had 33 cafés and hoped to double it in 2021.
Now the group is ready to reach that goal earlier. Brokers believe that it will be able to reach 100 pubs in the coming years, because customers respond to the renovated bars, trendy drinks and decent service.
Existing investors must retain, while new ones can also swallow a few shares.
Traded on: Target Ticker: CPC Contact: citypubcompany.com 020 7559 5106