Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Old-Fashioned Ideals Help Pub Chain to Expand

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Old-Fashioned Ideals Help Pub Chain to Expand

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter McCusker

FAST-growing pub chain Wear Inns has just sealed a deal to buy two new bars and is set to take over three more this year as one of the leisure sector's few success stories.

At a time when around 50 pubs a week are closing nationally Billingham-based Wear Inns has built up a nine-strong portfolio of pubs since its launch in 2006 and says it is now in the market for a "package" which could boost its portfolio to over 20.

Managing director John Weir, who set up the business with former Pubmaster boss John Sands believes its emphasis on creating community venues with keen prices is the key to its success.

In the coming days it will conclude deals with Spirit (part of the Punch group) for the Guidepost at Springwell, Washington and the New Inn at Wetherby and is eyeing venues in North Tyneside and Sunderland which it hopes to conclude by the end of August. Mr Weir, who worked for Mitchells and Butlers for 31 years before joining Mr Sands in the run-up to the sale of Pubmaster to Punch in 2003, said: "We hope to have 12 pubs by the end of the year. We have a good business model and we want to continue to grow.

"While our growth to date has been step-by-step we would love to be able to pick up a package of say a dozen pubs and double our portfolio.

"The two new pubs have similar features and characteristics to the rest of our estate.

"They are both drinks-led rather than food reliant, offering good value all day, every day, and importantly, they are very much part of their respective communities."

When it completes its purchases of The Guidepost and the New Inn the company's turnover will be up to pounds 5m with pre-tax profits of around pounds 1m.

The business is valued at around pounds 7m and having borrowed from Nat West and Newcastle-based NVM Private Equity to fund some of its purchasing carries debts of around pounds 4. …

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