Investments: Yates drinks to rise in profits

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The Independent Online
YATES BROTHERS, the Manchester-based chain of wine lodges and eateries, seems to have survived the poor summer weather and the competition from the World Cup better than most, although the share price hardly bears that out.

Profits in the six months to 27 September were up 22 per cent on last year at pounds 6.2m. There has been some belt-tightening by customers, and like for like sales fell 3.2 per cent, but October was a better month than September, according to Peter Dickson, chairman.

The second half should also bring a seasonal upturn in sales, supported by an increase in promotional spending on music and live entertainment.

The scope for raising sales per outlet is limited and future growth depends heavily on opening new outlets, but the group still plans to expand numbers by another 20 per cent in both the current year and next. The shares were clearly overvalued in June when they hit a peak of 558p. But at 289.5p yesterday, down 16p on the day, the stock is still some way off its peak.

Analysts yesterday downgraded forecasts for the current year from pounds 14.3m to pounds 14m and earnings of 18.4p a share, to reflect the dip in like for like sales, but if the planned level of openings is met, pounds 17.5m and earnings of 22.4p look possible next year. On 13-times next year's forecast earnings they look good value in a sector which itself has oversold.

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