According to the 52-strong pub group’s interim results for the 26-week period to 28 June, H1 revenue more than halved as a result of the Government’s enforced closure of hospitality venues – plummeting from £27.1m in H1 2019 to £12.1m in 2020.
What’s more, the Group’s latest results revealed that it made a £3.5m loss during the first half of 2020 compared to a £1.9m profit recorded during the equivalent period 12 months prior as profits fell by 280%.
However, following the successful phased reopening of 37 of its 48 trading pubs from 4 July, the Group has seen revenues return to approximately 80% of pre-lockdown levels, generating positive cashflow.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser on 27 July, the Group reported that like-for-like sales had recovered to two thirds (63%) of previous levels and that total sales for the three weeks since reopening half its estate on 4 July were £1.8m.
City Pub Group’s net debt currently stands at around £13m following an equity raise of £22m, with the directors’ valuation of the Group’s portfolio circa £150m on a normalised trading basis.
According to executive chairman Clive Watson’s latest statement, City Pub Group’s priorities remain the preservation of cash and improving operations in order to grow the business and the trading estate post-pandemic.
"Trading since reopening, given that there have been no sporting events or large bookings and given reduced opening hours, has been encouraging,” Watson said.
“This excellent performance has delivered profitable, positive cashflows allowing us to maintain our strong financial position. A large part of this is down to the passion and dedication of our staff who have hospitality at their very core.
“The business has undergone significant change since the outbreak of Covid-19. The work and actions implemented have made us an even better business, positioned us well to endure these challenging times and emerge strongly once the pandemic passes.”
According to its latest interim results, measures taken by the Group to weather the ongoing pandemic to date include centralising marketing and booking functions in a bid to increase pre-bookings and rationalising its supply chain to maximise economies of scale.
What’s more, the relaunch of its City Club App has yielded more than 140,000 downloads, while the Group also acquired a 14% equity stake in Mosaic Pub and Dining Group – run by joint chief executives Peter McDonald and Watson’s brother, James.
City Pub Group’s latest results statement also revealed that following the decision to conserve cash and cease any unnecessary capital expenditure, four planned development projects have been shelved for the short-term.