According to its final results for 2020, the operator of a freehold estate of 45 wet-led pubs across London, southern England and Wales, recorded revenue of £25.8m – 57% less than the £60m figure from 2019 – due to “lengthy closure periods”.
The operator – which recently acquired a 49% stake in the Kensington Park Hotel and increased shareholding in Mosaic Pub and Dining Group to 24% - also registered a £5.1m loss compared to a £5.3m profit in 2019.
City Pub Group is the latest in a line of operators to reveal financial dents following pandemic enforced closures throughout 2020.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, Kent-based family brewer and pub operator, Shepherd Neame, revealed an underlying operating loss of £3.6m during the six months to 26 December 2020.
What’s more, Suffolk-based Adnams posted a pandemic loss during 2020, revealing that a swing of more than £4m landed it in the red.
Trading up versus 2019
However, since reopening 24 of its pubs after the Government’s post-lockdown roadmap permitted the resumption of outdoor trade, City Pub Group takings have been 77% of 2019 levels.
What’s more, the Group’s results statement reveals that 45 sites are on track to open on 17 May – after the Prime Minister confirmed that hospitality venues could reopen indoors – with significant number of bookings taken.
City Pub Group also details both strong liquidity and an asset backed balance sheet, putting the operator in what it sees as excellent position to grow its estate to once conditions normalise – and boasting the potential to hit triple figures.
Ultimately, despite pandemic losses, City Pub Group’s executive chairman, Clive Watson, believes the firm has been strengthened during the past year via a sweeping site investment programme, improved City Club app – which now has over 100,000 active members – and a board strengthened by the appointment of Toby Smith as chief operating officer and Emma Fox as an independent non-executive director.
“The business has been significantly improved over the past year placing us in an excellent position to take advantage of the pent-up demand as the country reopens,” Watson said.
“The early signs since we have been allowed to trade outdoors have been very heartening and it has been great to bring back our immensely talented staff and to see our customers enjoying our pubs once again.
“We are a streamlined, well-invested business with a first-rate customer offer,” he continued.
“Our pub estate is unique in terms of quality and, with the step change in the business, we have an ideal platform to grow successfully in the future.”