The drinks and kitchenware chain as a whole has not yet made a profit – but takings were “much improved” last year, Adnams announced in its full-year report and accounts for 2013.
Overall sales were up 3.5%, or 6% on a like-for-like basis, and all but two stores improved their profits.
“We are substantially better off with the business than without it and we made a large step forward in 2013,” the company reported.
“The shops have become a very important outlet for Adnams beers and have provided access to the growing take-home market. In volume terms our shops now sell about 60% of the amount sold through our tied estate.
“They have also been of great value in launching new products from our distillery. They, along with our website, were the only source for our new whiskies. This meant that we were able to retain the margin in-house. The whiskies were a major contributor to particularly strong trading in December 2013.”
Chairman Jonathan Adnams said: “Our shops business enjoyed a strong 2013. While some stores have always done well we have started to see improvements in most of the estate.
“We believe that a focus on operations, cost savings and a good offer of Adnams products bodes well for the future.
“The store estate remained unchanged during the year except for the fact that we opened a pop-up shop in the Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich. This shop was open from September until the end of the year and traded very well. We will look at other such opportunities as and when they arise.”
Overall Adnams made profits of £3.3 million, 2% behind 2012 – a turnaround after half-year operating profits were down 22% against the year before.
Take-home beer sales grew 20%, compared to 14% growth the year before.
Last year the brewer launched its first lager, Southwold Jack, and released the first whiskies from its distillery, Adnams Single Malt and Adnams Triple Grain.
Adnams started off with a single wine and kitchenware outlet in Southwold, and began growing the estate in 2005. It now has 12 shops in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Lincolnshire and London.