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Wed 3rd Feb 2021 - Update: Time Out Group and Chipotle
Time Out Group signs to open Time Out Market in Abu Dhabi: Time Out Group has entered into a management agreement with leading real estate developer, Aldar Properties, to open a new Time Out Market in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. Time Out Market Abu Dhabi is expected to open in 2023. This is Time Out Market’s fourth management agreement and its second location in the UAE, with Time Out Market Dubai set to open in the first half of calendar 2021. Under the agreement Time Out receives a share of revenues and profits (subject to a guaranteed management fee) but does not contribute to the capital cost of the site. Its primary responsibility being branding, curation and day-to-day management and operations. The company stated: “Time Out Market Abu Dhabi will be located in one of the region’s prime destinations that attracts millions of locals and visitors annually. The Market, showcasing the region’s food and culture, will span over 35,000 square feet and include 15 of Abu Dhabi’s best restaurateurs, three bars and a cultural and entertainment space. In 2014 the first Time Out Market opened in Lisbon, bringing Time Out’s loyal audience and its trusted curation together in a physical location that offers the best of a city’s cuisine and culture under one roof. In 2019 five more sites opened, with the newly expanded platform attracting 5.5m visitors and generating a total transaction value of £65.5m. The Markets’ operations have been severely disrupted since March 2020 by lockdowns and restrictions, but their future prospects have grown, with an increasing current and planned roster: Current – Lisbon, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, Montreal; Planned – Dubai (2021), London (2022), Porto (2022), Abu Dhabi (2023), Prague (2025). Time Out Market provides a premium environment, supported by strong consumer led marketing and a cost-effective structure for restauranteurs. At a time when commercial landlords and real estate developers face the increasing challenge of attracting customers, the Markets transform spaces that become the anchor in prime locations to drive consumer footfall. As a consequence, the group expects to sign more agreements in the year ahead, growing its recurring earnings stream, without the need for further capital.” Julio Bruno, chief executive of Time Out Group, said: “Signing the fourth management agreement for Time Out Market with a global real estate partner like Aldar Properties is testament to the appeal of our unique ‘Market’ concept and the global strength of the Time Out brand. We look forward to bringing the Time Out Market to Abu Dhabi and curating the best of this international city’s home-grown culinary talent under one roof. While it remains a challenging time for the leisure industry, we know our audience is eager to return to the city life that we champion and we look forward to welcoming them to the current and planned Time Out Markets around the world.”

Chipotle reports digital sales up 177.2% in Fourth Quarter: Chipotle has reported total revenue for the quarter was $1.6 billion in its Fourth Quarter to 31 December 2020, an increase of 11.6% from the fourth quarter of 2019. The increase in total revenue was driven by a 5.7% increase in like-for-like restaurant sales and new restaurant openings. Digital sales grew 177.2% and accounted for 49% of sales. The company stated: “Comparable restaurant sales were fairly consistent in each month of the fourth quarter due to a combination of factors including healthy demand for Carne Asada, strength in digital sales, and the benefit of a delivery menu price increase. Comparable restaurant sales began to improve towards the end of December and this trend has continued with January comparable restaurant sales growing around 11%. Comparable restaurant sales in the last week of January were in the high single digits, with winter weather across the country contributing to the lower comp. Assuming the pandemic doesn’t worsen, we expect first quarter 2021 comparable restaurant sales to be in the mid to high teens range given an easier comparison during the second half of March. Digital sales grew 177.2% year over year to $781.4 million and represented 49.0% of sales. About half of the digital sales were via delivery, benefiting from our expanded partnerships, with the remainder coming from order ahead transactions as guests better understand the value offered by this channel, as well as the convenience of more Chipotlanes.” Chief executive Bran Nicol said: “We are pleased to report a strong ending to what has been a challenging year. Despite the difficult backdrop, our ability to pivot and adapt to the rapidly changing needs of our guests is a testament to the durability of our business model and the strength of our team members. Expanding access and convenience through our digital ecosystem has kept the Chipotle brand relevant and with world class talent, an inclusive culture, strong business fundamentals and deep financial strength, we are well prepared to emerge even stronger post-covid.” The company added: “As of December 31, 2020, Chipotle maintains a strong financial position with $1.1 billion in cash, investments and restricted cash, and no debt, along with a $600 million untapped credit facility with which to continue to navigate this crisis. Our financial strength gives us the opportunity to make on-going strategic investments in our people, business, and communities, which we believe will benefit us for years to come. At the same time, our team remains focused on reducing non-essential controllable costs and judiciously spending on return generating projects to preserve liquidity.”

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