A reopening update published on 16 July revealed Loungers has successfully reopened 75 Lounges and 19 Cosy Clubs – a total of 94 sites – since the relaxation of the Government imposed closure of pubs and bars due to Covid-19.
Now, having been “very encouraged” by the response from the group’s teams and customer base as well as its “well-received” Covid-secure safety measures, Loungers has revealed it plans to fully reopen an estate of 165 sites ahead of schedule.
However, the café-bar operator revealed that two of its Lounges would not be among its reopened sites as it announced that Banco Lounge in Bristol and Allegro Lounge in Northfield, Birmingham would remain permanently closed.
“We have decided not to reopen two sites,” the statement read. “Banco Lounge in Bristol is one of our earliest sites and a combination of its small size and the additional costs of doing business mean that it no longer meets our returns criteria. Its lease expires in March 2021 and will not be renewed.
“We have also closed Allegro Lounge, which hasn’t performed as we had hoped since opening in 2018. While we are always willing to give each site time to mature, Northfield has proven to be the wrong location for a Lounge and we will ensure we learn from that. We are not considering any other sites for closure.”
Therefore, the group’s fully operational post-lockdown estate will comprise 136 Lounges and 29 Cosy Clubs – a total of 165 venues – when its reopening programme completes on 5 August.
Loungers’ added that it is to participate in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, welcomed the VAT reduction announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 8 July, which applies to 65% of the group’s sales and praised the Government’s new Job Retention Scheme Bonus.
Chief executive Nick Collins also announced the group had earmarked Birmingham as the location for Loungers’ 30th Cosy Club site.
“It remains our view that Loungers is well placed coming out of lockdown and we are optimistic with regards to future trading and the continued planned growth of both our Lounge and Cosy Club brands,” Collins said.
“While in the short term our roll out programme will be considerably more conservative, we are excited to be opening our 30th Cosy Club in Brindley Place, Birmingham on 10 August.
“We welcome the further sector support announced by the Government last week, which is timely and will assist us in rebuilding momentum over the weeks and months ahead.”
This comes after Lounger revealed plans to continue the expansion of its estate after the relaxation of Government imposed closure having raised approximately £8.3m through an ordinary share placing on 22 April and securing a £15m revolving credit facility from its lending banks.