Caffe Nero brings in advisers on talks with landlords: Caffe Nero has become the latest sector company to appoint advisers to aid in its negotiations with landlords. The company is at the early stages of working with KPMG on said talks in regards to its circa 660-strong UK estate. More than 90% of the Gerry Ford-owned chain’s outlets have reopened since the coronavirus lock-down ended in June, with about 30 sites having remained shut since then. It is thought the company is looking at a range of options, including rent cuts, but that possible store closures have not been discussed as yet. A spokesperson for Caffe Nero told Propel: “It has been a difficult period since lock-down measures were introduced by the government and we’re working incredibly hard to navigate our way forward. As part of this, we are working closely with advisers to help review our options and assist with our ongoing negotiations with landlords.” The group’s Coffee No1 and Harris & Hoole businesses are not part of the talks. Caffe Nero, which employs circa 5,000 people, was understood to have been performing strongly prior to the covid-19 crisis. Ford, founder and group chief executive of Caffe Nero, told Propel in July the business saw a 10% to 15% jump in revenue when it reopened seating in some of its sites at the start of that month. Speaking as part of Propel’s “navigating the coronavirus” series, Ford said the group could also see early trading patterns across the circa 600 stores it had opened so far. He said: “With 600 stores reopened, we have a lot of data points and it’s easier to see trading patterns now. You can see some stores are trading at 80% of normal and some are 20% of normal, and those ones are the few we’ve opened in transport hubs. It’s also slow in central city areas such as London, Glasgow and Manchester. Those stores that are office, worker or tourist-orientated tend to be doing worse. If you look at the behaviours, where people are working from home in their villages or market towns, going out to get coffee and trying to get back to normalcy in some shape or form, those stores are doing really well. Those people who used to take a train to London are getting coffee in their local Caffe Nero and we’re doing well with those guys, but the stores they used to visit in London, when at work, aren’t. Last week, when hospitality sites could open in England, we saw a jump of 10% to 15% in revenue relative to takeaway. Takeaway was taking us to a certain level but now sitting in stores has jumped us up another 10% to 15% of revenue we didn’t have before.”
Scotland introduces ‘rule of six’, face coverings made mandatory in pubs and restaurants: The number of people allowed to meet up in Scotland has been cut to six amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic “accelerating”. It came as first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a “tightening and extension” of lock-down rules, including face coverings being made mandatory in pubs and restaurants. Customers will have to wear a covering when moving around and not eating or drinking while it will also be mandatory for staff to wear a covering. Sturgeon said: “The hospitality industry has put a lot of effort into creating safe spaces for people to meet and we hope these additional protections will help ensure the sector can remain open, with high levels of compliance.” Changes planned for next week have been put back until at least Monday, 5 October. It means theatres, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports for people aged 12 and above will not now open on Monday (14 September). The size of groups that can meet in homes, gardens, pubs or restaurants has been cut to six people from two households. And spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks – although two pilot events due take place at the weekend will still happen. Scotland is currently recording three times more positive cases of the virus on average each day than it was three weeks ago – with a further 161 cases being logged today (Thursday, 10 September).