Kingfisher halts McClusky's expansion after losses

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Related tags: Profit

Bar operator Kingfisher Leisure has slashed costs and halted the roll-out of its McClusky's brand after suffering losses.It has raised £2.3m by...

Bar operator Kingfisher Leisure has slashed costs and halted the roll-out of its McClusky's brand after suffering losses.

It has raised £2.3m by selling three of its venues and plans to dispose of more underperforming sites, mainly some of its nightclubs.

It has also cut overheads by axing its new openings team and reducing the number of senior managers from six to two.

The company blamed "difficult trading conditions" since last autumn and losses from three new McClusky's bars in the Midlands.

For the year to April 30, it revealed its 1999 figure for annual profit of £1.06m had plummeted to pre-tax losses of £7.82m.

Chairman Martin Jelbart added that it had also been hit by an aborted takeover approach from rival bar operator Springwood Leisure in January.

He complained of "the destabilising effect and uncertainty which the protracted, intrusive and inconclusive talks had on the business".

Springwood, which still owns 19.7 per cent of Kingfisher, is still thought to be interested in making a bid in the future.

But Jelbart pointed out that it would be required to equal or top the original bid.

He warned that the shake-up was unlikely to lead to improvements in profits until the start of next year.

Of its three newest openings, Kingfisher is currently "repositioning" its McClusky's in Derby but is confident of an upturn in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Jelbart said: "The company will continue with its asset disposal programme and will continue to focus on increasing the profitability and value of the company's operational assets."

Its biggest disposal so far was the £1.3m sale of a leasehold site in Brighton, East Sussex, to JD Wetherspoon last month.

Related topics: Other operators

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