‘Strong and stable’ Hawthorn to invest £7.5m in pub estate during 2021

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Strong and stable: 'Occupancy is high, our community and suburban pubs were well-placed to bounce back after reopening in July, and we remained profitable in the first half of our financial year,' Mark Davies explained
Strong and stable: 'Occupancy is high, our community and suburban pubs were well-placed to bounce back after reopening in July, and we remained profitable in the first half of our financial year,' Mark Davies explained

Related tags: Hawthorn leisure, Newriver retail, Finance, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased

Community pub operator Hawthorn has earmarked in the region of £7.5m for investment in its pub estate over the next financial year despite the impact of Covid-19.

The NewRiver-owned operator of more than 700 community pubs revealed that plans are afoot to pump £7.5m in capital expenditure into its pub estate over the next 12-months – more than double it’s pledge​ for the £3m investment outlined following its six-month results in November 2019.

This comes despite Hawthorn revealing that in the six months to 30 September pub net property income was £3.5m compared to £13.6m in the same period in 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What’s more, the group also saw a £400,000 decline in like-for-like income excluding the impact of enforced Covid closures, which Hawthorn attributes to dented consumer confidence after the lifting of the first national lockdown on 4 July.

Hawthorn’s most recent results also state that trading was also adversely impacted by the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme – which adversely impacted its predominantly wet-led portfolio – as well as localised restrictions. 

Prior to England’s second national lockdown​, Hawthorn saw 50% of its sites trading in tier one with a further 25% in each of tier two and tier three restrictions. 

Remaining profitable

Additionally, Hawthorn revealed earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the month of September stood at £1.9m – only 10% down year-on-year. 

“Despite the obstacles facing the hospitality sector, Hawthorn remains a strong and stable business: occupancy is high, our community and suburban pubs were well-placed to bounce back after reopening in July, and we remained profitable in the first half of our financial year,” Hawthorn CEO Mark Davies said.

As reported by The Morning Advertiser​ prior to England’s second national lockdown, Hawthorn pledged that pubs shuttered under the Government’s tier three measures, Wales’ ‘fire break’ lockdown and Scottish restrictions would receive a 100% rent credit.

“With further challenges imminent and in the shape of local lockdowns, our priority is to support and protect all of our people, protect the business and plan for the future,” Davies added.

“We will continue to support our pub partners and operators, and we will use the next three months to invest in the business so it’s stronger than ever when restrictions begin to lift in spring next year.”

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