Property round-up

Two pub groups saved from administration, Red Fox & Peacock invests £1m in first freehold

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?

Related tags Property Finance Pubco + head office North west London Stonegate pub company

Hospitality groups Out Of the Woods and East Coast Concepts have both found buyers after being placed in administration while north west pub operator Red Fox & Peacock is poised to open its first freehold site following a seven-figure investment.

East Coast Concepts saved from administration 

Manchester-based bar and restaurant group East Coast Concepts has been bought out of administration.

East Coast Concepts, which runs venues in Hale, Alderley Edge, Liverpool, Leeds and Oxford, saw Ben Woolrych and Anthony Collier of FRP Advisory appointed as joint administrators on 1 September.

Now, the operator behind Neighbourhood and Victors has been acquired by an investment group, led by Cairn Group director Naveen Handa and is part of a strategic acquisition to enhance the group’s premium hospitality offering.

The deal protects more than 250 jobs with all existing Neighbourhood and Victors sites continuing to trade as normal.

“This acquisition marks a significant milestone for the business and will enable us to embark on the next phase of growth, with an investor, which really sees the value in the brands we have created,” John Hammond, managing director at East Coast Concepts, explained.

“Moving forward we see great potential for premium, experiential and well differentiated brands and will be focused on supporting the existing management team, whilst investing in the brands and it’s people to help realise the exciting growth potential,” Handa added.

Out Of The Woods Group bought out of administration 

The operator of four London pubs, Out of The Woods, has been acquired out of administration by Racon Investments, which comprises a number of the embattled pub company’s former directors.

The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ reported on 12 August​ that Out of the Woods filed for administration with Chris Farrington and Simon Jagger of ReSolve Advisory installed as joint administrators of its four subsidiary companies – Woodys Inns, Hillmaster, Willow Inns (UK), and Forest Inns (UK). 

Christie & Co to market Seafood Pub Company sites

Property firm Christie & Co has been appointed to market ten sites formerly operated by north west-based pub operator Seafood Pub Company, which was placed into administration in June​ amid Covid-19 lockdown.

Seafood operated 12 sites across Lancashire and Yorkshire including eight long-leasehold sites, a freehold and a trio of commercial leaseholds, which were all surrendered after the appointment of administrators.  

News of administration followed the business recording a group loss after tax of £2.73m for the full-year to 31 December 2018 in reports filed at Companies House in October 2019.

According to a recent administrators’ report, while the company benefited from the Government-backed Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, the business was forecast to empty its cash reserves by June 2020.

Founded in 2010 by Joycelyn Neve, the award-winning operator was unable to access a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan during lockdown while an internal fund-raise with its lender bank and investors later failed.

According to a press statement issued in June, Neve said: “It goes without saying I am truly heartbroken, to have lost my business, but even more so for my team and Seafood family.

“We fought as hard as possible, every step of the way and I am just so sorry to all the team that we weren’t able to save the business.”


Red Fox & Peacock opens first freehold site after £1m investment

Red Fox & Peacock Limited, formerly known as Lytham Hospitality Group, is poised to open first freehold Lytham House in Lytham, Lancashire, later this month.

The Group’s £1m transformation of a former Italian restaurant in the Fylde coast town’s centre will create 65 new jobs.

The new venue, which will hold 650 people with private dining capacity for 30 and another private room for 14 guests, is the latest addition to owner Ross Robinson’s pub portfolio which comprises the Queens Hotel in Lytham; the Eagle at Weeton in North Yorkshire, the Ship at Freckleton, Lancashire, as well as the Elephant Pub & Bakehouse and the Liberty Tavern, both in Woolton, Merseyside. 

“Lytham House will be unlike anything else in the area, the only place where you can enjoy brunch, lunch, coffee and a selection of small or large plates in the daytime, and cocktails, dinner and live entertainment into the evening,” Robinson said. “It will also offer residents and local businesses space for celebrations, business meetings, dining, and Christmas parties.”  

Discussing opening in the current climate, Robinson added: “With the shutdown, refurbishing the site took longer than planned.  However, we are lucky in that our original design was quite socially distanced.  

“We’re also going to add a takeaway service as an additional income stream once we’re established.  During lockdown we introduced a takeaway service at our other pubs, which we got down to a fine art, cooking 500 Sunday roasts for collection each week.  

“Lytham in my opinion is also likely to be affected less than other parts of the country,” he continued. “With people staycationing, Lytham may be more attractive to tourists and in fact become busier.  

“Increasing numbers of people are also looking to move out of the big cities and Lytham and the Fylde Coast has lots to offer. We have some great businesses and restaurants in the town who are ready to adapt to the new environment and challenges.”


Stonegate to incorporate 65 Bermondsey Pub Company sites

Ei Group managed operation Bermondsey Pub Company is to be absorbed into Stonegate Pub Company’s managed estate meaning its 65 sites will be converted into one of Stonegate’s existing formats – such as Proper Pubs, Walkabout, Classic Inns and Slug & Lettuce. 

As a result, Bermondsey Pub Company operations director Henry Fairbanks has left the business. 

Ei’s other managed formats, such as the 300-site Craft Union group, are unaffected by the change. 

Stonegate’s purchase of Ei Group for £1.27bn made it the largest pub company in the UK with a managed portfolio comprising 1,270 sites and 3,200 leased and tenanted businesses.

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