But pub operator hopeful on improving trading conditions
Pub operator Punch Taverns is pressing ahead with Scottish investment plans despite a dip in half year profits.
The company, which has 20 managed and more than 340 leased pubs across Scotland, said it will spend around £850,000 during the current financial year improving its offering north of the border.
Elaine Kennedy, operations manager at Punch, said: "We have been working on a lot of investment in the first half of the financial year.
"We will have spent around £850,000 in Scotland by the close of the year."
Underlying profits at Punch fell 8.4 per cent to £206 million in the six months to March 5 with overall revenue slipping from £676.6 million to £655.4 million.
However there has been an improvement in recent trading.
Kennedy added: "The Scottish estate is broadly in line with the rest of the UK results wise.
"All retail businesses were affected by the bad weather in December last year. A lot of our partners saw Christmas bookings being cancelled as people simply couldn't get out.
"However they have fought back strongly. We have a number of initiatives in place to help them like our recent spring fayre when 70 pubs came to Edinburgh to look at promotional activity and events they could organise such as beer festivals and national quiz and darts competitions.
"Consumer spending patterns seem to be settling down. People do enjoy going to their local pub and that's an experience you can't match in your own home."
Last month Punch announced plans to demerge its Spirit managed pubs division.
In the trading update issued to the stockmarket it confirmed chief executive Ian Dyson will head up the new venture while Roger Whiteside, currently managing director of the leased division, will become chief executive of Punch.
The restructuring plan devised by former Marks and Spencer executive Dyson will see more than 2,500 pubs closed.
The demerger of the 950-strong managed Spirit pubs will leave Punch with an estate of around 5,200 leased and tenanted pubs where landlords rent the pub and get their supplies from Punch.
It has identified some 3,000 of these as core pubs and the rest will be closed at the rate of about 500 a year. Another 450 pubs are to be offloaded from the Spirit business.
The half year figures revealed the 3,000 core pubs that will be kept as part of the Punch business saw net income decline by 5.3 per cent whereas the pubs being offloaded over the next three to five years suffered an 11 per cent decline.
The Spirit division saw underlying profits increase by five per cent to £67 million.
The group disposed of 190 under-performing pubs over the six months in deals worth £62 million.