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City news: Small pubs, rise in spending and John Lewis bonuses

Economy:
City news: Small pubs, rise in spending and John Lewis bonuses

SMALL pub companies are growing at twice the rate of large chains, seeing their turnover increase by almost a third in the past five years, a study has found.

The smaller firms have been expanding by acquiring new pubs and taking advantage of interest in more expensive craft beers and gastro pub meals, said commercial lender Ortus Secured Finance.

Chief executive Richard Beenstock said: "Smaller pub companies often have more freedom to experiment and respond to what the customer wants than the larger chains - and many have been able to transform the pubs sold by the big chains back into profitable enterprises.

"If the small chains and independents get their offering right, they can add significantly to their turnover and, more importantly, profit by shifting customers from mass market brands to local favourites."

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Rise in food and drink spending

Households' spending on food and drink recorded its biggest annual jump in more than a year last month, as people celebrated Valentine's Day, according to an index.

Annual spending on food, beverages and tobacco increased by 4.8 per cent in February across the UK, marking the largest annual upswing in 13 months, Visa Europe's report found.

Overall, consumers' spending grew by 2.2 per cent on the year, with the sharpest increase recorded in the hotels, restaurants and bars sector, which recorded a 13.6 per cent annual increase.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa Europe, said: "February is always a key bounce-back month for retailers and 2016 has been no exception."

City news: Small pubs, rise in spending and John Lewis bonuses

He said the hospitality sector has recorded a "stellar performance, as consumers treated loved ones on Valentine's Day, while families had trips out during half-term".

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John Lewis partnership trims bonuses

MORE than 90000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff are expected to see staff bonuses cut yet again when the partnership that owns the two firms posts a fall in annual results on Thursday.

Staff bonuses are expected to fall to 9 per cent or 10 per cent this year, according to respected independent retail analyst Nick Bubb, compared to the 11 per cent staff were handed last year.

City news: Small pubs, rise in spending and John Lewis bonuses

Analysts expect the John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by employees of the two retail chains, to report annual pre-tax profits before exceptional items of about & pound; 300million, from & pound; 342.7million a year ago.

The business said in January its annual results would be hit by & pound; 60million of pension charges.

Department store chain John Lewis posted a rise in Christmas trading figures as surging online sales offset declines in its stores.

Over Christmas, the retailer reported a like-for-like sales lift of 5.1 per cent in the six weeks to January 2 but it relied on a 21.4 per cent jump in online trade as comparable store sales dropped 1.2 per cent.

The partnership also revealed "challenging '' trading at Waitrose, which suffered a 1.4 per cent fall in like-for-like sales excluding fuel over the six weeks.

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07 March 2016, 15:00