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Wed 21st Apr 2021 - JD Wetherspoon to re-open a further circa 139 pubs to have 533 open
JD Wetherspoon to re-open a further circa 139 pubs to have 533 open: Wetherspoon is to open a further 44 pubs in England on Monday, 26 April. The company opened 394 of its pubs in England on Monday, 12 April. The new pub openings include those in Guildford, Ilkeston, Lincoln, Morecambe, Camborne, Driffield, Nottingham and Reading, as well as London. On the same day (26 April) Wetherspoon will also open 60 of its pubs in Scotland and 32 in Wales. Three Wetherspoon pubs in Northern Ireland will open on Friday, April 30. It will result in 533 of the company’s 871 pubs being open. From 26 April all Wetherspoon pubs (including those that opened on 12 April) will be extending their opening hours for an extra hour each day. The pubs in England will be open from 9am to 10pm (Sunday to Thursday inclusive) and 9am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday), although some have restrictions on closing times and in those cases will close earlier. They will offer a slightly reduced menu, to include breakfast, burgers, pizza, deli deals, fish and chips and British classics. Food in pubs in England will be available from 9am to 9pm seven days a week. Customers will be able to order and pay through the Wetherspoon app, however, Wetherspoon staff will be able to take orders and payment at the table from those who don’t have the app. The Wetherspoon pubs will not be operating a booking system. Customers will be able to enter the pub to gain access to the outside area and also to use the toilet. Test and trace will be in operation and hand sanitisers will be available. Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “We are looking forward to opening the extra pubs in England as well as those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We look forward to welcoming our customers and staff back to our pubs.”

April update will see 67-plus companies added to exclusive Propel Premium multi-site database: The monthly update of the Propel Premium multi-site database, which is exclusively available to subscribers, will include at least 67 additions, with those eligible receiving the monthly update on Friday, 30 April, at midday. The exhaustive database of businesses comprised 1,628 companies when it was issued to subscribers at the end of March, and will now list at least 1,696 businesses by the end of April. Alongside the database will be a report detailing the new companies and highlighting the changes seen in the multi-site universe over the past month. The go-to database has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector – it provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Premium subscribers already receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Email to sign up.

Shepherd Neame re-opens more than 200 pub gardens, reports £1.5m to £2m per month cash burn when estate was closed: Kent-based brewer and pub retailer Shepherd Neame has reported a loss before tax of £7.2m in the six months to 26 December 2020 compared to a £5.4 profit in the comparable six months. Turnover was £55.3m (H1 2020: £79m). The company stated: “The period under review included strong trading during the summer months, followed by ever changing levels of restriction and finally enforced closure again from November. The disruption had a significant impact on the financial results. Bottled beer volume growth of +25.7% and tight cost control have restricted underlying monthly cash burn to circa £1.5m to £2m while pub estate was closed. New waivers agreed with lenders on 20 April 2021. Normal covenant tests relaxed through to September 2022, replaced with minimum liquidity covenant. Ample liquidity for foreseeable future. Over 200 pubs gardens reopened on 12 April 2021. All pubs will be open on 17 May 2021. Initial trade levels are encouraging.” The company has embarked on a targeted investment programme to optimise gardens and outside space and to maintain high standards of signage and decoration. Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We are delighted and excited to have opened over 200 pub gardens on 12 April and look forward to reopening the rest of our pubs in May with increasing confidence. There is significant pent up demand in the economy and the desire to go out for a drink or a meal is as strong as ever. Initial trade has been most encouraging. There are still many challenges to face and a long road to full recovery, but the balance sheet remains strong and we have ample liquidity. The relationship with our licensees is excellent and our reputation for beer and pubs is strong. We look forward with confidence to returning Shepherd Neame back to growth.” Chairman Richard Oldfield said: “In reporting figures which are the most difficult in the company’s history, we nonetheless see bright sparks which give us plenty of optimism. The summer showed that people long to get back to pubs. We expect strong demand from our customers as we reopen. On 12 April we opened over 200 pubs out of 316 in our estate for outside trade and early demand has been encouraging. We are fortunate that such a high percentage of our estate has outside space to take advantage of the initial stage of opening. Our relations with licensees are good. We are raring to go. In the last year the management team has had to adapt constantly to changes in circumstances. There has been a twin focus on getting through short-term adversity and recovering to flourish in the long-term.”

Ten Entertainment Group hires Adam Bellamy as non-executive chairman: Ten Entertainment Group has appointed Adam Bellamy as non-executive chairman effective from the AGM date on 5 May 2021. The company stated: “He is currently senior independent director and has served on the TEG board since 2018 as audit committee chair and latterly remuneration committee chair. His extensive knowledge of our business, as well as his wealth of experience in high-growth consumer-facing companies, make him ideally placed to oversee reopening and a return to growth. Adam is currently a non-executive director at Loungers and The Style Group PLC, a high growth e-commerce fashion brand. Adam has previously served as chief financial officer of Pure Gym as well as holding senior finance positions in the hospitality and leisure industry. As a result of Adam’s experience within the Group and his strong working relationship with the board, our current chairman Nick Basing has made the decision to step down earlier than anticipated, at the AGM on 5 May 2021.” Adam Bellamy said: “I am delighted to have been selected to lead Ten Entertainment Group at such an exciting point in its history. I thoroughly enjoy working with this strong and experienced management team, and despite the challenges of the past year, I am confident that we have everything in place to return to growth when we re-open in May.” Nick Basing said: “I am really pleased that Adam is taking on the Chair, he knows the business and has worked well on the board these last three years. The business is in safe hands and I wish everyone at Ten good wishes and every success for the future.”

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