Welcome Break motorway service owner claims Brexit has hit UK customer spending as it seeks further expansion into the US
- Group said UK Welcome Break performance had merely been ‘satisfactory’
- Company said it was operating in ‘challenging’ trading conditions
The owner of Welcome Break motorway service stations has claimed Brexit has ‘impacted on consumer sentiment.’
In a statement ahead of its annual general meeting today, Dublin-based owner Applegreen said Welcome Break’s performance in the UK had been ‘satisfactory’ in the midst of ‘challenging’ trading conditions.
The group, which operates the UK’s second biggest motorway service station operator, has opened nine new sites since December, including three in the UK and six in the Republic of Ireland.
Impact: The owner of motorway service station group Welcome Break has claimed Brexit has ‘impacted on consumer sentiment
Looking to expand further internationally, the group has also opened two new sites in the US and converted them into 7-Eleven stores.
Applegreen said: ‘The US business is performing well and we continue to explore new opportunities in this market.’
Daniel Kitchen, Applegreen’s chairman, said the group’s trading for the first five months of this year had been ‘in line with expectations.’
He added: ‘The legacy Applegreen business is performing strongly year on year notwithstanding prior year comparators were negatively impacted by adverse weather events.’
On the dividend front, Kitchen said: ‘Subject to shareholder approval, we intend to pay a final dividend of 0.91c per share on 28 June 2019 to shareholders on the register on 7 June 2019. This will bring the total dividend for the financial year 2018 to 1.54c per share.’
All new: Applegreen launched its own version of the vegan sausage roll earlier this year
As well as its motorway and forecourt divisions, Applegreen operates 29 Ramada and Day Inn branded hotels, which were acquired as part of its Welcome Break acquisition last year.
In its last set of annual results, Applegreen said its Welcome Break arm attracts around 85million customers a year.
At its Welcome Break sites, the company has a string of high-profile franchise partners, including Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Express, Subway, Waitrose and WH Smith.
Applegreen has launched a number of its own on-trend vegan products, including a vegan sausage roll and Moroccan Poké Bowl.
In its last annual results, Applegreen reported a 55 per cent rise in profit to around £250million. Revenue stood at around £1.7billion.