Rail strikes hit Nightcap but revenue up almost 50%

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Half-year results: Nightcap is aware further rail strikes could impact the business
Half-year results: Nightcap is aware further rail strikes could impact the business

Related tags Cocktails Finance Multi-site pub operators

Nightcap estimates 13 days of rail strikes has cost the business about £1.2m but like-for-like (lfl) revenue has risen by almost 50%, according to the company’s interim results for the 26-week period ended 1 January 2023.

Nightcap, which has brought its late-night bar businesses The Cocktail Club, Adventure Bar Group and Barrio together as a single group​ at the start of January, reported lfl revenue growth of 48.7% from £15.8m to £23.5m for the period.

It reported lfl revenue increase of 4.7% for its second quarter of financial year 2023 (FY23) versus the same period in 2022 and a 10.1% increase for the first half (H1) of FY23 against the equivalent period in FY19, however, the business suffered a 5.8% lfl decrease occurred in H1 FY23 against H1 FY22, “largely due to the ongoing rail strikes”.

EBITDA up 25%

Nightcap’s IAS17-adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) increased by 25% to £2m, despite the UK-wide rail strikes.

It had 30 bars operational throughout the half-year period with 36 open by the end of this timeframe after the business opened six new sites: two The Cocktail Club bars, two Tonight Josephine venues and two Barrio bars during September and October 2022.

Nightcap chief executive Sarah Willingham said: “Nightcap has had a fantastic half year. Our incredible team opened six bars in six weeks across the country while also delivering a Christmas that exceeded expectations and records in terms of corporate parties, pre-sold events and a nearly sold out New Year’s Eve across all 36 sites.”

£1.4m group savings

She continued: “This was followed by a significant business integration and streamlining process, resulting in expected group savings of £1.4m annually while preserving the much-loved individual identities of our brands. The new sites have opened well with trading continuing to build week-on-week all the way through to the end of February 2023.

“While rapidly building the leading premium bar group in the UK in a very attractive market for property deals, we continue our focus on strong cost controls, proven by our impressive cash generation of £4.1m from operations during the period thanks to the unwavering dedication of our talented and highly motivated team.

“We look forward to the second half of the year with confidence and, once again, we thank our customers for coming to our sites and enjoying themselves with friends in a fun, relaxed party atmosphere and leaving knowing they have had a night to remember.”

Nightcap added trade has remained resilient since the start of 2023. The group, which targets Gen Z and Millennial customers, continues to trade in line with market expectations and the outlook is encouraging. The board welcomes a potential resolution regarding rail strikes although it is conscious of the impact further rail strikes could have.

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