Alcohol retailer Endeavour Group says as first-quarter trading has been well ahead of pre-pandemic levels as Australians flock to its pubs and hotels to socialise.
The Woolworths spinoff said on Monday total sales were up 3.1 per cent to $3 billion for the 14 weeks to October 2, compared to a year ago, when parts of the country were in lockdown.
Sales at Endeavour Group’s 347 licensed venues were up 90.8 per cent to $538 million, while retail sales – including Dan Murphy’s and BWS – were down 6.2 per cent to $2.49 billion.
“Our hotels are thriving, as Australians embrace both large and small social occasions after years of COVID-19 disruption,” said managing director and chief executive Steve Donohue.
“There has been a rebound across hospitality categories, with bars, food, gaming and accommodation all performing strongly.
“Live entertainment is also becoming a feature of our business again, with music fans enjoying a range of sold out gigs.”
Sales of food in Endeavour’s hotels have been its fastest growing category in recent months, compared to 2019, the company said.
While retail sales were down compared to last year, they were up 13.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, Endeavour Group said.
“Our year-on-year comparison shows a predictable decline as we cycle the unique spikes in demand created by COVID-19 restrictions that particularly affected key population centres of NSW and Victoria this time last year,” Mr Donohue said.
The company was expecting a “big Christmas season”, the first restriction-free festive season in three years, he said.
Function bookings were already strong in hotels and its retail establishments would have a good supply of a range of products at all price points, Mr Donohue said.
At 2.08pm AEDT, Endeavour shares were up 1.5 per cent to $6.97 on a generally down day for the market.