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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 3rd Sep 2020 - Revolution Bars Group – trading has been ahead of expectations
Revolution Bars Group – trading has been ahead of expectations: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of premium bars trading across the UK under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has reported trading ahead of expectations since it started reopening the estate on 6 July. It stated: “The group had reopened 18 bars by the end of July, and as of Monday, 25 August, 39 bars were trading. Trading in the period since reopening has been ahead of the board’s expectations, in part as a result of the Eat Out To Help Out (EOTHO) scheme. Comparable venue sales in the eight weeks to 29 August were 72.5% of last year. In the first four weeks of the period (to 1 August) comparable venue sales were 60.0% of last year but in the past four weeks (to 29 August), during which time the EOTHO scheme has been operating, comparable venue sales were 77.5% of last year. EOTHO has been a big success in the past four weeks driving Monday to Wednesday comparable venue sales to 188.4% of last year. These comparable venue sales performances are higher than indicated in the ‘fund-raising, proposed delisting and AIM admission’ announcement issued on 5 June, which referred to a base case scenario of venues reopening in August and delivering 55% of prior year sales with only marginal improvement in September and October. As a result of the positive response to the EOTHO in August, the group announced last week it would continue to run EOTHO at its own cost at least through September. A further ten bars have opened this week and a further 13 are currently planned to reopen on Monday (7 September). This leaves 11 bars that are unlikely to reopen until social distancing restrictions are further relaxed. The group has agreed to surrender the lease of Revolution Liverpool – Cavern Quarter, effective 30 September, and consequently this venue will not reopen. The group remains focused on reducing costs while trade is constrained by social distancing restrictions. The board is grateful to the support of landlords at 23 of its venues for granting rent waivers to share the burden of rent through this difficult period in accordance with the UK government’s Code of Practice. The board believes ongoing discussions with landlords at 16 other venues could reach an acceptable outcome before the September quarter date but is disappointed almost half of its landlords have refused to enter into meaningful discussions at this time. Senior management’s priorities remain reopening venues and operating responsibly to ensure the health and safety of both staff and customers and attempting to engage with landlords in a meaningful way to resolve the outstanding rent issues. This, together with the gradual process of bringing central support team members out of furlough as venues reopen and the logistical challenges of a remote audit process, means the preliminary announcement of the annual results is not expected to take place until the end of November. The company will announce a definitive date for the preliminary announcement in due course.” Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “Having opened two thirds of our estate I’m pleased these bars have outperformed our base case scenario assumptions, however, sales in the eight weeks since reopening commenced remain 27.5% below last year despite the assistance of the EOTHO scheme that finished earlier this week. We have more openings planned during this week and next but will have 11 bars that are very unlikely to resume trading until there is a further relaxation of social distancing measures and late-night venues are legally allowed to reopen. Overall, the board’s expectations for the year ahead remain unchanged. We would welcome an indication from government as to their inclination to assist in the grave issues that exist with commercial rental arrears and the moratorium that is due to end on 30 September as well as an indication of further financial support for the late-night venues sector that remains closed by government order.”

PHE Hotel Group – unprecedented challenges in our first half: PHE Hotel Group, the international hospitality real estate group that develops, owns and operates hotels and resorts, has reported covid-19 resulted in reported total revenue decreasing to £61.9m in the six months ended 30 June 2020, compared with £155.3m the previous year. Ebitda for the period was minus £3.3m, compared with £45.7m the year before. The company stated: “84% of the property portfolio is now open, with a sharp rebound in performance seen for weekends, in our flagship properties in London and Amsterdam, outperforming the market. (Our) owner-operator model enabled the group to take decisive and swift actions to preserve cash flow and realign its operational structure to meet near-term demand to align its operating and brand standards and reprioritise its investments, including capex programmes and development pipeline projects. Early on during the pandemic, selected properties remained open to support key workers, giving the group valuable insights to further adapt its health and safety programmes and enhanced protocols for both hotels and meetings and events spaces to support the health and well-being of guests and team members.” Boris Ivesha, president and chief executive, said: “The first half of the year has brought unprecedented challenges unlike anything the hospitality industry has seen before. In the face of these difficulties, the group has shown its ability to adapt to the new environment, supported by the high quality of our portfolio, our flexible owner-operator model and broad customer appeal. I am delighted the majority of our properties are safely welcoming customers once again, and I am encouraged by the strong leisure demand and resulting market outperformance we have seen in our flagship properties in London and Amsterdam. Looking ahead, we are focused on maintaining this positive momentum and ensuring the group is well-positioned to navigate the ever-evolving trading environment and to capitalise on future opportunities in line with our growth strategy.”

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