Rail strikes batter REKOM Xmas profits

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Thwarted trade: Quiet cities impact trade at REKOM sites (Getty/ Flashpop)
Thwarted trade: Quiet cities impact trade at REKOM sites (Getty/ Flashpop)

Related tags Finance Rekom Pubco + head office

Train strikes and the cold snap stifled Christmas trade for late-night goliath REKOM UK, but its chief executive has hope for the future.

This comes after research from The Morning Advertiser​ found trade over the festive season to be worse than expected​ for two in five pubs.

Peter Marks, chief executive of REKOM UK which owns brands including PRYZM clubs, said: “Cities across the UK were a lot quieter than usual during the 2022 Christmas and New Year period – unfortunately a mixture of both train strikes and cold weather meant more people were staying at home than they normally would, which impacted trade for our business.”  

Rail strikes have cost hospitality a total of £2.5bn in lost sales since industrial action began in June last year, according to UKHospitality.

It was beneficial for business when Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fell during the week, according to Marks. This was because they were popular dates for going out, so were typically days when REKOM’s clubs saw high footfall.

Affordable treat

However, this year both days fell on a weekend, meaning the company also lost out to two weekends of ‘normal trading’.

On a more positive note, Marks said consumers were still willing to spend money socialising with friends – particularly in today’s cost-of-living crisis – where a night out is seen is seen as an ‘affordable treat’.

Research from the late-night operator showed students go out​ more than any other demographic at two to three days a week (33.2%).

Looking to 2023

Furthermore, the CGA Business Confidence survey reported younger consumers are the strongest returners​​ to the sector, given they are less likely to be susceptible to higher energy consumption costs and have no major financial burdens like owning a property. 

“We remained resilient throughout the pandemic because of this behaviour, so if we continue to prioritise well-invested propositions that are good value and relevant to our target audience, our nightclubs will see a strong surge in attendance,” said Marks.

He added: “We are hopeful we will see this continued growth in 2023 and beyond.” 

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