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Tue 7th Jan 2020 - Update: Bed and Bars, Fuller’s, Tokyo Industries, Wetherspoon
Beds and Bars reports group Ebitda up 16.5%, two new sites planned: Pan-European hostel and bar operator Beds & Bars, led by Keith Knowles OBE, has reported turnover rose 5.74% to £54.9m and group Ebitda rose 16.5% to £6.1m at constant exchange rates in the year to 31 March 2019 – and it plans two new sites. Net assets rose to £16.8m in the year with all the profits retained within the group with plans to expand. These results were achieved against a backdrop of increased cost pressures, particularly in the UK Estate, mitigated in part by the continued weakness of sterling against the Euro. Keith Knowles said: “We continue to invest in new projects both in the UK and our target cities in Europe, with exciting new developments in Edinburgh and Berlin whilst continuing our upgrades in our major units to maintain our unique market position including The Winston in Amsterdam where we transformed the bar and restaurant experience after a £2 million investment. We also refurbished the bars at Camden and Greenwich with a £700,000 investment and we launched the first UK Capsule Hostel beds in London Bridge; these beds have been a huge success and something we plan to roll out across other sites. Our further investment in the development of technology platforms and on-line capabilities reduces our reliance on OTAs in an increasingly competitive market. We remain grateful to our bankers, HSBC for their support and to our team at Beds and Bars who encompass over 90 nationalities.” The company added: “The group has bought out minority interests in Paris and Barcelona funded by the sale and leaseback of a Paris property, ensuring that these major sites will retain profit and liquidity within the group in future years. The group has also retained its IIP Platinum status for a further three years, demonstrating the high quality of training and investment in people throughout the business, maintaining its position as a truly great place to work. The current year continues to be challenging with increases in National Living Wage, business rates and pension contributions in the UK all adding to the cost pressures whilst late night licences are more difficult to retain. However despite these hurdles, the financial outlook for the New Year is strong with exciting projects coming on stream, ample liquidity to invest and the support of energetic staff and supportive bankers. A few exciting developments for the group in FY19 includes two new hostels opened in Berlin and Edinburgh, a new booking engine and website for St Christopher’s Inns and a Belushi’s brand redesign implemented across the UK estate. We look forward to seeing the results of these major developments and potential for further growth in the new financial year.”

Fuller’s closes Weymouth Stable: Fuller’s has closed The Stable restaurant on Custom House Quay in Weymouth with immediate effect. The pizza restaurant business was started in Bridport by Richard Cooper and Nikki Cooper in 2009. There are now 15 restaurants across the south, not including Weymouth after Fuller’s bought the business in 2014. Commenting on the closure of The Stable in Weymouth, a spokesperson for Fuller’s said: “Due to the seasonality of the operation, it did not perform as we had hoped. Therefore, we have made the decision to close the site. The other Stable sites continue to deliver an outstanding cider and pizza offer to customers from Falmouth to Kew Bridge and we are still very excited by the potential of this excellent, young brand.”

Tokyo Industries submits licensing application for the historic Tyne Bridge in Newcastle: The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle could become a creative arts and event space, suitable for weddings, product launches and creative art projects. Aaron Mellor’s Tokyo Industries has submitted a licensing applications to turn the world famous Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne into a licensed event space. Mellor said: “We tactically submitted planning and listed building consent plans on the very day of Tyne Bridges 90th Anniversary. The application flagged up that the bridge at that point was only Grade II Listed, which was then elevated to Grade I, which meant the application had to be re-considered. We finally gained planning 14 months later which paved the way for the new licensing application.” If successful, the building could be operational this summer. Mellor added: “This is a altruistic project for me. I arrived in Newcastle to study architecture at university, I had no money so ended up DJing to fund my way through. The DJing led to promoting, graphic design and finally owning my own bars and clubs nationally (and internationally). To leave Newcastle with the keys to one of the coolest most recognisable buildings in the north of England is pretty cool. I’m supremely proud of Newcastle and the things it’s generated for me – this really is me giving something great back to the people of this amazing city.”

Wetherspoon plans £30m investment in Ireland: JD Wetherspoon plan to invest £30m in Ireland over the next four years. In Ireland, there will be new sites in Waterford, Galway, and two venues in Dublin, creating a total of 300 new jobs. At present, the company operates seven pubs in Ireland – in Blackrock, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Swords. First to open in Ireland, in late May or early June 2020, will be the former HQ Bar and Restaurant, on Hanover Quay, Dublin. That will be followed in June by the 89-bedroom Keavan’s Port hotel, on Camden Street Upper and Lower, in Dublin’s city centre. The pub’s name refers to the fact that Camden Street Upper and Lower are part of an ancient highway into the city of Dublin. The two streets were previously known as St Kevin’s Port. In a series of old maps and records, the name is shown as Keavan’s Port. Development on Wetherspoon’s as-yet-unnamed Waterford pub on Broad Street and Arundel Square will begin in January 2020, with the opening date set for late June or early July. Meanwhile, the company has bought a former nightclub in Eglinton Street, Galway, and aims to build a pub with a 4,000sq ft customer area and a 1,900sq ft first-floor garden.

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