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Wells & Co. see Impressive Growth in the face of challenges

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Wells & Co’s 2023 annual accounts show impressive growth in the face of continued challenges for the hospitality industry

Brewpoint Taproom in Bedford

(Brewpoint Taproom, Wells & Co. Head Office)

Wells & Co., a fifth-generation family business and the trading name for Charles Wells Ltd, recently disclosed its financial results for the year ending October 1, 2023. Notably, their EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) experienced a significant increase, rising by £800,000 from £8.7 million in 2022 to £9.5 million in 2023. 

As the company approaches its 150th anniversary, these figures bode well for Wells & Co. and demonstrate robust financial health and resilience in a competitive market.

In a year of continued challenge for the hospitality sector, Wells & Co.’s upturn was delivered through considered cost control and a focus on consolidating capital investments made the previous year, driving sales across the group to £62.3m, up £7 million year on year. 

Wells & Co’s Pub Parter estate of 130 leased and tenanted pubs has always been the bedrock of the business, and in 2023 it provided ongoing support across operations, food and drink marketing and more, helping to increase total revenue by 6%.  Meanwhile, its UK-Managed pubs delivered a sales increase of over £3m across the estate, with revenue from accommodation in particular increasing by 25%.

Peter Wells CEO of Wells & Co. sitting at a table in Brewpoint Bedford

Group CEO, Peter Wells, commented “I have been delighted to see this growth being delivered from these two critical divisions of the business. The improvement from our Pub Partners in particular shows their resilience and dynamism, with sales gradually returning to a semblance of normality during the post-pandemic recovery. However, we are still acutely aware of the cost pressures that the whole industry continues to face and the constant challenge to convert sales into profit. In response to this, we are doing as much as possible to provide support and offset cost increases. Just a few ways we’ve done this include holding the cost of our own brewed beer range, introducing utility saving measures in cellars as well as implementing voltage optimization equipment, where possible installing electric car charging points to encourage increased dwell time, and lastly providing more resources to help with sales building plans.”

In addition to the growth achieved in Wells & Co.’s UK pubs, the company’s French estate of 16 managed pubs also witnessed a substantial surge in sales, contributing £2.2 million. Primarily this was due to the success of France’s national team during the football World Cup at the beginning of the year and the rugby World Cup at the end. To cap off the calendar year, Wells & Co added two more pubs to its French estate in December 2023, welcoming the House of Parliament and HMS Victory in Bordeaux to the group, and with further site acquisition plans for summer 2024.

(Houses of Parliament English Pub in Bordeaux)

Group CEO, Peter Wells, commented: “Our financial year began with political turmoil following Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget which was quickly followed by Liz Truss’ resignation as Prime Minister. Throughout the year we then saw inflation running at over 10%, utility cost hikes and the cost of food up nearly 20%, alongside a rise in interest rates from 2.25% to 5.25% which had a particular impact on mortgages and a knock-on impact on the rental market. Meanwhile, there was a backdrop of discontent with strikes undertaken by the Royal Mail, teachers and those in the NHS, with the rail strikes having a particular impact on our London pubs, as commuters stayed away. In the face of these unprecedented challenges, we were delighted to see sales improving by £7 million to £62.3 million and statutory EBITDA increasing by £800k to £9.5 million. Alongside this, our sustainability efforts have also helped deliver better profitability through energy-saving initiatives, while also lightening our touch on the environment, ensuring efforts are aligned with our triple bottom line vision of People, Planet, Profit.”

To find out more about Wells & Co. visit www.wellsandco.com or follow the brand on social media on Instagram, Twitter/X and Facebook.