The owner of 35 venues across the UK – comprising 24 Oakman Inns, five unbranded sites and six Seafood Pubs – revealed that like-for-like sales were up by 34.3% versus the same week in 2019, while total sales grew by 51.5% against the same period.
In keeping with the Government’s roadmap, the Group resumed trading at 28 sites during the week commencing 12 April – with pubs permitted to welcome customers to outdoor trading areas.
“These sales are way above our expectations, particularly given that the like-for-likes are against Easter 2019,” Oakman’s executive chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, commented.
“This success is testament to a superb job by Dermot King and his team with respect to our pre-opening training and our investment in our outside spaces.
“Average sales across the Oakman Inn brand were well in excess of £40k net last week – although we did see huge polarisation across the estate driven by the size and amenity of the respective outdoor spaces.”
Oakman CEO, Dermot King, added: “Whilst it is difficult to make direct comparisons, given the locational and spatial advantages our sites enjoy, we have clearly outperformed the wider market which was 21% down on like-for-like sales.
“These numbers represent a remarkable performance by our teams,” he continued. “Given that we have only been allowed to trade for four of the last 13 months - and with the constant threat of being told to stop trading or follow new regulations – they have come through some tough times.”
Customer feedback 'enthusiastic and positive'
King continued that, despite what he sees as an increasingly aggressive stance against the hospitality industry from medical authorities, the public’s appetite to return to the on-trade has not diminished.
“We have 90% advance bookings on key trading days for the next six weeks over our 28 currently trading pubs, and customer feedback has been enthusiastic and positive,” he said.
“We don’t have any city pubs, where trading outside can be limited, and we have invested in all our outdoor spaces to give our customers the best possible experience.
“It was encouraging to see so many local friends and families wrapping up for the weather, determined to simply enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company again at their local – and we thank them for their support.”
Borg-Neal also provided an update on when its recently purchased Seafood sites – which were bought from administrators in March – would begin trading and announced the acquisition of the Grand Junction Arms near Tring in Hertfordshire from Punch.
“Our newly acquired Seafood Pubs will not open until May, nor will the Woburn,” he said. “However, we did see a great start from the newly acquired Grand Junction Arms in Tring.
“We are planning to expand and develop it shortly and, given that it achieved sales of £38k last week from a standing start, we are very optimistic about what we can achieve with the site.
"We have also commenced work this week on our sites in both Buckingham and Wokingham which will open in September.”