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UK pub chain Fullers sees bookings jump ahead of Christmas

Signage is seen outside of a Fuller's pub in Chiswick, London, Britain

Signage is seen outside of a Fuller’s pub in Chiswick, London, Britain, November 26, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 15 (Reuters) – British pub group Fuller Smith & Turner (FSTA.L) on Wednesday said current bookings were 11% ahead of last year, priming it for a strong Christmas season.

Britons are gearing up for a cheery holiday season despite a year of unrelenting economic gloom due to persistently high inflation as pub groups and retailers line up offers to attract customers.

Food retailers Tesco (TSCO.L) and Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) as well as clothing groups Next (NXT.L) and Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) have also all issued upbeat comments on the outlook for Christmas.

In the run-up to the holiday season, Fullers is looking to lure people with a slew of offerings, including a new three-course Christmas menu and family-friendly events ranging from carols night to a “Jack and The Beanstalk” play.

“Customers are increasingly seeking premium experiences when they are spending their money, and we have the benefit of the lucrative international tourist trade to come with inbound tourism still below pre-covid levels,” CEO Simon Emeny said in a statement.

The company, which operates premium pubs across the UK, saw trading disrupted last year by widespread train and tube strikes, particularly in central London, where many of its pubs are located.

“Margins are starting to recover from depressed levels and, if rail strikes can be avoided over the important festive period, we see potential for consensus upgrades …” Stifel analysts said in a note.

Shares in Fullers were up 4.1% to 598 pence at 0840 GMT.

Reporting by Eva Mathews and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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