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Thu 6th Jun 2019 - Update: Loungers trading update, new Admiral Taverns chief executive
Loungers reports like-for-like sales up 6.9% as revenue passes £150m: Loungers, the operator of 148 cafe / bar / restaurants across England and Wales which trade under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has reported a 6.9% increase like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks ended 21 April 2019. The company stated: “Both brands have traded well throughout the year and since the year end, with Loungers’ relaxed home- from-home customer proposition – offering great food and drink, all day, to an increasingly broad demographic – continuing to resonate with customers. Total revenue for the year was £153.0 million, representing total revenue growth of 26.4% over the prior year (2018: £121.1 million), and like for like sales growth of 6.9%. The results for the year are anticipated to be in line with market expectations. Over the course of the year, the group opened 25 new sites, comprising 22 Lounges and three Cosy Clubs, taking the portfolio to 146 sites as at 21 April 2019. Post the year end, Loungers has opened two new sites, Panero Lounge in Southsea and Falco Lounge in Barnsley. The new site pipeline remains strong, reflecting the broad demographic appeal of the proposition in a diverse range of different site types and locations. The group is on track to open 25 new sites in the current year, bringing its suburban “third space” lifestyle culture and hospitality to many new locations and communities nationwide. The group expects to announce its full year results on 28 August 2019.” Chief executive Nick Collins said: “This has been a landmark year for Loungers, delivering continued strong like for like growth and 25 new site openings, alongside taking the group public. We remain excited about the opportunities ahead in the new financial year with good momentum in both brands, some fantastic sites in the pipeline and a real energy in the business following the IPO.”

Chris Jowsey hired as new chief executive of Admiral Taverns: Chris Jowsey is to become the new chief executive of Admiral Taverns next month, succeeding Kevin Georgel. Jowsey joins Admiral from Heineken where he currently leads the group’s on trade business in the UK. He has held a variety of strategic and commercial roles at Heineken since he first joined the business in 2003 having overseen the growth and expansion of Star Pubs & Bars, the leased and tenanted pub company of Heineken in the UK, with some 2,700 pubs across the country. He is also a non-executive director with T&R Theakston’s. Chairman of Admiral Taverns, Tom Ward said: “On behalf of the board and the entire team, I am delighted to welcome Chris to Admiral. Chris not only brings with him over 18 years of wider industry expertise but an in-depth knowledge and passion for the leased and tenanted pub sector. His career path at Heineken is impressive and his clear ambition, experience and understanding of the sector will be invaluable in leading the company through the next stage of its growth and development.” Chris Jowsey said: “I’m delighted to be joining Admiral at this exciting phase in the group’s history. The business has gone from strength to strength in recent years and the team have carved an excellent reputation in the industry. I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues, the board and our investors to build on this impressive growth trajectory, championing the valuable role that pubs can play in their local communities and cementing Admiral’s reputation as a leading operator in the sector.”

Hubbox to make Welsh debut, after securing Cardiff site: Hubbox, the Richard Boon-led restaurant business, has secured a first site in Wales, in Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay. The company has taken a 3,000 sq ft unit, with 500 sq ft of outside seating, located next door to soon-to-open Cosy Club at the 150,000 sq ft mixed-use destination on the waterfront in Cardiff Bay. Everyman will open an 11,500 sq ft, five-screen boutique cinema at Mermaid Quay later this year, also its first in Wales. The Hubbox and Cosy Club units are located within the planned redevelopment and extension of four units, which have been created alongside a new, high profile corner unit of 1,500 sq ft, with 1,000 sq ft of outside seating, which is currently being marketed. Boon, Hubbox chief executive, said: “My wife is from South Wales, we used to visit Cardiff Bay a lot when we first met and she was living there. I have liked the location and the Mermaid Quay scheme since then. I’m excited about the new look and feel that the scheme is about to get and new cool brands including Everyman that will bring a new dynamic. The waterfront location – which is basically in our DNA – suits us perfectly.” The seven-strong group recently secured a site in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays and submitted plans to open a restaurant in Barnstaple, Devon. It also recently reopened its flagship St Ives restaurant in Cornwall after knocking through to next door to double its footprint and add a bar. The new enlarged site is understood to be trading strongly. Hubbox plans to expand its portfolio to between 18 and 20 sites by the end of 2021.

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