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5 May, 2015 - 09:31 By Tony Quested

Valentine’s Day love affair for Greene King

Greene King CEO Rooney Anand

Suffolk brewer and hospitality group Greene King saw its London share price rise 7p to 821.50p on early trading today after issuing a bullish update on trading for the 51 weeks to April 26.

CEO Rooney Anand (pictured) said bumper Easter and record Valentine’s Day sales plus gains elsewhere across the group had countered difficult second-half trading conditions generally.

The preliminary results for the 52 weeks to May 3 will be announced on July 1.

Retail like-for-like (LFL) sales were up 0.4 per cent in the period reported and general LFL sales up 0.8 per cent – discounting the impact of tough new drink-drive regulations in Scotland.
Easter sales were up 2.4 per cent and record Valentine's Day sales of £4 million were achieved. Anand said: “We once again traded well over key events, such as Valentine's Day and Easter, as customers celebrated and enjoyed these occasions in our pubs.

“The second half of this financial year, however, has been tougher than the first, with more difficult comparatives to last year and the additional impact of new drink driving legislation in Scotland.

“Looking ahead, we are moving closer to the acquisition of Spirit and, in particular, to next week's decision by the Competition and Markets Authority.

“The scheme of arrangement is expected to become effective during the first half of 2015, which will enable us to commence the integration process. The acquisition of Spirit will create the UK's leading managed pub operator, accelerate our retail expansion strategy and deliver significant synergy opportunities and scale benefits for both sets of shareholders.”

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