Pub group Liberation posts 20% sales jump amid accommodation expansion

Pub owner Liberation Group has revealed a jump in sales, boosted by growing demand for its accommodation business.

Bosses at the hospitality firm said it has benefited from customers moving to its “high quality” pubs with rooms following price hikes by a number of budget and mid-range competitors.

Liberation, which runs more than 130 sites, has also launched its Butcombe Boutique Inns offering amid hopes to grow its accommodation business further.

The company, which is focused in southern England, reported that revenues grew by 20% to £144.4 million over the year to January 7.

It added that like-for-like earnings across its managed pub business grew by 19% year-on-year.

The firm, which is owned by Caledonia Private Capital, was partly aided by its acquisition of 22-strong pub operator Cirrus in December 2022.

The company said its UK managed pub business saw like-for-like growth 8%, with a 11.6% increase within accommodation.

It added that sales have continued to grow in more recent months, with a 6.5% like-for-like increase over the 13 weeks to April 27.

Liberation said it believes its focus on high occupancy levels for sites with rooms has also helped to bolster its food and drink trade.

Jonathan Lawson, chief executive officer of the group, told the PA news agency that investment into its accommodation has supported growth across the whole company.

He said: “Demand has been really strong for rooms across our pubs.

“We have been prudent with our pricing and seen really strong occupancy.

“I think there are definitely people who have seen some in the more-budget hotel space increase prices and make the decision to pay slightly more for a really high quality stay.”

Mr Lawson said the group has over 400 rooms across its current operation and sees an opportunity to increase this to around 700 within its current estate through conversions and new developments on existing sites.

“Looking forward, we remain optimistic for the year ahead as we start to see a calmer cost environment and are excited by the plans that we have for growing the existing business.

“In accommodation, we have progressed rapidly in the last five years and the launch of Butcombe Boutique Inns presents an exciting next step.”