Manchester-based family brewer JW Lees has reported record turnover, achieving 5.6% growth to £67.7m, as it eyes the ‘next chapter’ in its history.
The company spent £10.8m on acquisitions in the year to 31 March 2017, as it looks to revamp the estate, while major refurbishments exceeding £50,000 each were carried out at 72 sites.
Due to investments, EBITDA was down by £1.1m (11.8%) to £8.2m, with operating profit falling by £869,000 (13.2%) to £5.7m and pre-tax profit (excluding property disposals) falling by £617,000 (10.7%) to £5.1m.
It advised short-term profitability will ‘continue to fall slightly’ as the company continues estate investments in the year ahead. Flagship property The Alderley Edge Hotel is to undergo a full refurbishment, with spending also earmarked for the managed and tenanted pub estate.
The company has been working with branding agency Squad for the last 12 months on repositioning the JW Lees brand as a ‘modern traditional brewer’ in the face of what managing director William Lees-Jones described as ‘an increasingly crowded landscape of traditional and new craft breweries’. It will be unveiling its new look this November.
‘2017 has been a year of positive growth for JW Lees and we are laying the foundations for the next chapter of our family business as we approach our 200th anniversary in 2028,’ Lees-Jones said.
‘Bedrooms are becoming an increasingly important revenue stream and we now have 211 bedrooms in our managed estate of hotels and inns. We are in the fortunate position of having supportive family shareholders who want to invest in our business for the long term as well as being virtually debt-free. We remain hungry for acquisitions of both managed and tenanted pubs as well as hotels in the North West.’