The multiple operator of café-bar and restaurants brands Lounge, Cosy Club and roadside dining concept Brightside opened 29 sites it said in a trading update on its financial year (FY) ended 16 April 2023.
The group lfl sales growth is 17.6% ahead of pre-pandemic levels on a three-year basis and it said it had delivered record total revenue for FY23 of £283.5m, up 19.5% on the previous year (FY22: £237.3m).
The marked growth of 11.8% in H2 lfl sales, while partially reflective of the impact of Omicron in the comparative period, also reflects a strong final 12 weeks to the financial year.
Loungers said the strength of its sales performance has enabled the business to manage the macro-economic backdrop and expects EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) for FY23 to be “broadly in line with market expectations”.
Its balance shows non-property net debt at 16 April 2023 of £6.2m (17 April 2022: underlying net debt of £2.6m), which reflects the acquisition during the year of three freehold sites for a total consideration of £3.9m and the acceleration of its roll-out programme.
Of the 29 new sites, 24 were Lounges, four were Cosy Clubs and its first Brightside venue opened too, taking the portfolio to a total of 222 sites at year end. Subsequent to the year end, it has opened a further Lounge in Altrincham and new sites have “traded well since opening and provide confidence as to the continuing strength of the pipeline”.
Chief executive Nick Collins said: “We have once again delivered a truly stand-out performance over the year.
“Our sales have been exceptional with the mature estate trading 18% ahead of pre-pandemic levels and 7% ahead of what was a really strong performance last year.”
Property market favourable
He continued: “We have progressed well with our accelerated site roll-out programme, opening 29 sites during the year which as a cohort are trading well above average.
“The property market continues to work in our favour and our pipeline of around 35 sites for FY24 is incredibly exciting with nine openings planned for the first quarter. The first site of our new roadside concept, Brightside, has opened well, and we look forward to opening the next two Brightside sites in the summer.
“For almost a decade, we have consistently outperformed the market as we strive to deliver better for our customers and our teams. The inflationary pressure across our supply chain looks to be easing, and our scale and continued growth have allowed us to mitigate much of the impact. We look forward to continued strong performance as we enter FY24.”
Loungers expects to update the market next on 12 July 2023 when it announces its preliminary results for the year ended 16 April 2023.