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1 December 2011, 14:04 | Updated: 1 December 2011, 14:08
Pub and Restuarant company Greene King says it plans to create 3,000 new jobs as it gears up for more growth in the eating-out market.
Greene King, based in Bury St Edmunds, and who own the Hungry Horse and Lock Fyne chains, wants to create three thousand new jobs across the UK over three years.
It is as part of plans to boost its estate to 1,100 managed pubs and restaurants, up from 950 currently.
The company says the expansion has been driven by strong food sales as consumers trade down from more expensive restaurant-only competitors.
Greene King said new sites and strong demand helped total food sales jump 16.3% in the first six months of its financial year.
Overall revenues were a record £527.5 million, up 9% on a year earlier, and meant profits for the group lifted by 5.6% to £73.1 million in the six months to October 16th.
The company said that there were more opportunities for growth.
"Our annualised food sales are over £300 million in a fragmented, growing UK market worth around £40 billion.''
It added that current trading remained strong, with a 12% increase in Christmas bookings despite the current economic climate.
Greene King, which currently employs 20,000 people across its managed pubs, brewing and tenanted pub division, has created 800 apprenticeships as part of its recent expansion and expects this figure to rise to around 2,000.