Loungers to create 1,000 jobs, CFO to step down

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Site openings on track: Loungers plans to continue its regeneration of UK high streets (Castano Lounge Ealing pictured)
Site openings on track: Loungers plans to continue its regeneration of UK high streets (Castano Lounge Ealing pictured)

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All-day café-bar-restaurant operator Loungers said it is on track to create 1,000 jobs through the opening of 34 UK sites by the end of 2023.

Loungers operates the Lounge, Cosy Club and Brightside brands across 250 venues that are predominantly located in secondary suburban high streets and small town centres.

The group said it is looking to recruit the same number again in 2024 to support its ambitious site roll-out plans target of having 600 Lounges and 65 Cosy Clubs.

Part of the company’s strategy for its Lounge concept is to target locations that are typically outside city centres, and as a result the company estimates that one in eight of its jobs is in an area that the Government wants to ‘level up’ by creating better opportunities and standards of living.

Loungers CEO Nick Collins said: “We are proud of the positive impact that our Lounges have on the local community.  Each new Lounge creates 30 new jobs on average, and each opening typically represents an investment of up to £1m into the local high street.”

Halo effect

He continued: “And apart from the employment opportunities, there’s a wonderful halo effect created by having a vibrant, friendly, community-hub at the centre of a high street. The increased footfall is great for all of the other local businesses, and typically leads to other enterprises coming to the area too.”

Loungers has claimed to be a great starting point for young people entering the industry because about a third of its 8,400-strong team is aged 21 or younger.

The company is particularly targeting expansion in both the north-east and north-west, where it is currently under-represented, and is assessing a range of sites, from new developments to former retail properties, banks, restaurants and pubs.

Collins added: “Our Lounges are extremely versatile and work as well in purpose-built, mixed-use retail and leisure parks as they do in historic buildings on high streets. This gives us a huge amount of choice when assessing new sites, as we’re not tied to any one kind of environment or type of location.”

Of the 59 sites that Loungers has opened in the last two years, 39% were former retail sites (including well-known high street names such as Boots, Waterstones, Argos, WH Smith, M&Co, Topshop and Currys), 20% were in brand new developments, 15% were former restaurants (such as Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian and Bistrot Pierre) and 12% were former banks.

Search is on to replace CFO 

Meanwhile, the firm’s chief financial officer Gregor Grant has informed bosses of his plans to step down next year, according to reports.

As detailed in The Morning Advertiser​’s sister publication MCA​, Grant will step down following the publication of the group’s results for the year ending 21 April 2024, with effect from 31 July 2024.

The board stated it had commenced a search to identify his successor and expected to make an appointment well in advance of Gregor, who joined Loungers in 2018, leaving to allow for a seamless handover of responsibilities.

Reilley said Grant has been an “integral” member of the team, providing “consistently strong financial leadership”.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank him, on behalf of the board and colleagues across Loungers, for his commitment and enormous contribution over the last five years. He will leave with our best wishes for his future”, he continued.  

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