Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leisure FIRMWEAR Inns Appoints New MD; LEISURE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leisure FIRMWEAR Inns Appoints New MD; LEISURE

Article excerpt

Byline: COREENA FORD coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk

ANEW managing director has been appointed at leading leisure firm Wear Inns following the sudden death of John Weir last summer.

Mr Weir, 67, one of the firm's founders, passed away at home in August following a heart attack, having become a popular face in the UK pub industry throughout a length career in the trade.

Finance director Simon Duckworth stepped in as interim MD, and he has now been confirmed as Wear Inns' managing director on a permanent basis.

His appointment comes as the firm's year end accounts, which are currently being finalised, are expected to show a record year of growth, with sales and profits well ahead of expectations.

Full-year results for the company are due out later this year but strong sales in food and drink are expected to push turnover above PS14m, from the PS13.6m recorded for the year ended March 2016, with a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales contributing to a 12% rise in profits.

Mr Duckworth said there are plans to invest significantly in the existing estate, enhancing and refreshing the offer across its 25 pubs in the North East and Yorkshire, including the Millstone in Gosforth.

He also paid tribute to Mr Weir and the way in which the company's 300-strong workforce had reacted to his sudden death.

He said: "It has been a momentous year in several ways. John Weir's sad death last August left all of us feeling bereft and uncertain about the future, but everyone has pulled together and carried on, and the anticipated results for the year are a testament to the fact that John had built an efficient and robust business.

"As the new managing director it remains my intention to continue to run the business the way John would have wanted, and to maintain the same philosophy of providing excellent amenities, service and value to customers, and an excellent place to work for employees."

Mr Duckworth, who is based at Wear Inns' headquarters in Castle Eden, County Durham, intends to spend more time off-site in the firm's pubs to stay in touch with the needs of the business.

There are no plans in the pipeline to continue on the acquisition trail, though if an opportunity arises which fits with Wear Inns strategic objectives and geography it will be considered. …

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