Nightcap’s Willingham ‘could not be prouder’ after record Xmas

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Exciting future: Nightcap CEO Sarah Willingham and The Cocktail Club in Birmingham
Exciting future: Nightcap CEO Sarah Willingham and The Cocktail Club in Birmingham

Related tags Nightcap Sarah Willingham Multi-site pub operators Finance Property

Nightcap has reported record trading for the Christmas period in an update to the end of 2023.

The owner and operator of 46 bars, including The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group, Barrio Familia and Dirty Martini, said it achieved a number of record revenue weeks during the Christmas period.

Unaudited group revenue for the four-week period ended 31 December 2023 was £7.4m – a 65.7% increase compared to group revenue of £4.5m for the equivalent period in 2022 – and a like-for-like revenue hike of 11.9%.

As a result, Nightcap’s revenues for the entire month of December 2023 were the largest monthly revenues in its, almost, three-year history since its initial public offering (IPO), with total December 2023 unaudited group revenue of £9.2m against £5.9m for December 2022 – an increase of 55.9% and a like-for-like revenue boost of 4.6%.

In the 13 weeks ended 31 December 2023 (Q2 FY24), the business reported unaudited group revenue of £18.0m, resulting in a 39.0% increase compared to group revenue of £12.9m for the equivalent period in FY23 and a 5.9% like-for-like revenue decrease compared to the same period in FY2023.

Dirty Martini integration

Nightcap said this represents a “significant” improvement in like-for-like revenue performance compared to Q1 FY24, primarily driven by strong Christmas trading alongside the integration of the Dirty Martini bars, the company’s PianoWorks collaboration and a number of sites opened in the previous 12 months starting to show improved maturity profiles.

For the 26-week period, ended 31 December 2023 (H1 FY24), unaudited group revenue was £32.7m, resulting in a 40.9% increase compared to group revenue of £23.2m for the equivalent period in FY23. Revenue for H1 FY24 represents a 10.0% like-for-like revenue decrease compared to the equivalent period for FY23.

The group’s cash position as of 31 December 2023 was £3.9m (including cash in transit of £0.9m) while total bank debt was £8.9m.

An agreement has been made with the administrator of DC Bars Limited and Tuttons Brasserie Limited to pay the full £0.5m of deferred consideration on the Dirty Martini acquisition​ following all conditions being met. With £0.2m paid in December 2023, the remaining £0.3m will be paid during Q3 FY24.

Nightcap chief executive Sarah Willingham said: “I could not be prouder of the entire Nightcap team as we continue to build the UK’s leading premium bar group.

“To achieve half yearly growth of 40.9% in revenue and 11.9% growth on a like-for-like basis for the important four-week Christmas period is a monumental effort.”

Volatile year

She added 2023 had been a “volatile” year, particularly in terms of the macro-economic impact on the hospitality sector. The cost-of-living crisis, inflation and rail strikes have significantly impacted the business and welcomed news the majority of rail workers have reached an agreement to end rail strikes.

She also said with inflation beginning to be controlled, interest rate cuts should be expected in 2024.

“These are elements that should start to positively impact disposable income for our target customers during 2024,” Willingham added.

“During the second half of 2023, we have transformed our management team while focusing on the integration of acquisitions and improving our systems. We expect to see the benefits of this integration and the synergies during the coming year.

“We are a much larger business with the team and foundations in place for the next stage of growth. We have set ourselves up to maximise our long-term potential. I am so proud of what we have achieved and am very excited about the future of Nightcap.”

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