Punch Taverns has revealed that its strategy to focus on creating a 'higher quality pub estate' is reaping rewards, as it announced average profit per pub across its entire estate has risen 3%.
Other figures revealed during its interim results for the 28 weeks to 5 March 2016, showed like-for-like net income across the core estate was in growth, with a rise of 1.6%.
Chief executive Duncan Garrood, said: 'We are already making good progress delivering on the strategy we set out in November 2015. We have launched new operating models, renewed our focus on customer service and delivered improved support to our publicans.
'The roll-out of our new Retail contract is progressing well with underlying profit and sales post conversion being ahead of our initial expectations.'
A total of 121 pubs have been identified to operate under the company's Retail division, with 50 pubs currently open, set to rise to 100 by the end of the year. The new Retail contracts, announced in November 2015, sees Punch take on pub and sales costs, excluding staff, paying the licensee a percentage of retail sales. Underlying profit and sales are ahead of management expectations.
Punch said its nominal net debt has been reduced by 14% to £191 million in the half year and by £293 million since its October 2014 refinancing. Disposals are ahead of target, with £199m of net proceeds. The figure includes £47m raised from individual property and land sales, £53m from a package disposal of 158 non-core pubs, and £99m from is disposal of its 50% share in Matthew Clark.