City Pub Group has revealed that trading since the reopening of its sites on 12 April 2021 has risen to 90% of 2019 levels, as the group has seen “encouraging” business post-lockdown.
The owner and operator of 48 pubs across Southern England and Wales said it was already benefiting from the “hard work” carried out over the past year, with its cost base “significantly reduced” resulting in the group trading profitably.
While the overall performance has been “very pleasing”, the continuing social distancing rules and absence of large bookings have still limited trade, however.
This became apparent at the start of the European Football Championships which usually would have been a busy period, yet many customers chose to watch the live sport at home due to social distancing restrictions.
Nonetheless, the group presently has a “very strong” balance sheet, with over £16m of unutilised banking facilities.
Looking ahead, the company’s priority is to get its existing estate “firing on all cylinders”, have all four development sites open by spring 2022 and to deliver the identified cost reductions.
Furthermore, the group also announced its recent purchase of the freehold of the Roundhouse in Wandsworth Common, where it only had four years left on the lease, for a total consideration of £1.1m.
Clive Watson, executive chairman, City Pub Group said: ”We have been very encouraged by how we have traded since reopening despite the continuing restrictions. We are cash generative and trading profitably demonstrating the strength of our business model.
“I would like to personally thank all our staff and suppliers for their ongoing commitment. We have put in place a strong platform for growth, and we believe that when we are allowed to trade restriction free we will build to levels higher than 2019.”