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Wed 5th Feb 2014 - Breaking News - Loungers results/tube strike discounts
Cafe Loungers – costs ‘well-controlled’ in year sales rose 47%: Cafe bar concept Loungers, led by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop and backed by Piper Private Equity, has reported costs were ‘well-controlled’ as turnover rose 47% to £22.15m in the year to 28 April 2013, with like-for-like sales growth of 6.2%. The year saw nine venues added to grow overall estate size to 32, comprised of 26 loungers and six Cosy Club sites. Site Ebitda jumped from £3.14m to £4.41m. The company stated in Companies House accounts filed this week: “The cost side of the business remains well-controlled despite the on-going roll-out as we continue to benefit from our low rents and there will be further scope to improve margins as the business grows. Over the 12 months, £5.01m was spent on new sites, an increase of £2.09m or 71.6% from the previous year. The financial position of the business continued to improve during the year with total assets less current liabilities increasing to £6.73m in the period from £3.4m in 2012. Santander continues to provide term loan facilities to finance less than 25% of the opening cost of new units and, at the period end, amounts due to Santander were £4.44m. The balance of new site costs is funded from internally generated cashflow. Shareholders funds increased to £2.12m from £1.08m, reflecting the underlying profitability of the business.” The company added: “The further expansion in Bristol, Birmingham and Bournemouth has underlined Loungers ability to operate multiple units in the suburbs and cities and our expansion into the North West has further demonstrated the brand’s ability to trade across the UK. The very successful Cosy Club openings in Salisbury, Cardiff and Exeter are in line with management’s strategy to operate Cosy Clubs in city centre and market town locations. The Cardiff site is now achieving the highest sales across the business.” The company reported it had invested £100,000 in its general manager and assistant manager training programme in the year. 2013 also saw the launch of its first Loungefest, an all-day festival in Somerset for 700 Lounges employees. The company reported that the first nine months of the current financial year had seen an acceleration in the roll-out programme with ten new openings – and three more planned before the end of this current financial year ending in April. Profit before interest was £1,204,949 in the year, up from £27,309 the year before. Profit before tax wax £1,053,397 compared to a loss of £139,714 the year before. The company workforce grew by 221 to 641 in the year. Loungers has reported 6% like-for-like sales growth in the first 26 weeks of the current financial year, with sales up 58.9% to £15.2m.

Restaurateurs offer strike-hit commuters big money off their bills: Restaurant chains in London have been offering commuters hit by the Tube strikes in the capital big discounts on their food bills. PizzaExpress has an offer of 40% off in selected Central London restaurants, applicable yesterday and today. The gastro-operator ETM Group was offering 50% off food yesterday and today to anyone who quoted the words “tube strike” when booking at any of its 11 outlets, which include the Jugged Hare on Chiswell Street and the Botanist in Sloane Square. Whyte & Brown, the chicken specialist off Carnaby Street in Central London, is also offering 50% off to customers who quote “Keep Calm” when they order both during this week’s strike and those planned to take place next week, February 12 and 13, with the offer reduced to 25% if the strikes are called off.

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