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Thu 23rd Sep 2021 - Trading updates from M&B, Fuller’s, City Pub Company and Everyman
Mitchells & Butlers reports sales have strengthened: Mitchells & Butlers has reported that sales have been volatile since re-opening but have generally strengthened, particularly since the easing of restrictions on ‘Freedom Day’ in England on 19 July. The company stated: “In the 18 weeks since full indoor trading reopened on 17 May like-for-like sales have been 97% of pre-covid levels, following an improvement since the last update in the most recent eight weeks to 104%. Trading continues to be stronger in suburban and food-led brands, particularly at the more premium end of the market. Total sales year to date, including 18 weeks of enforced closure, are at 45% of pre-covid levels.” Chief executive Phil Urban said: “We are encouraged by the improvement in sales performance following the easing of restrictions. However, we are still seeing volatility and a contrast between sales performance at food led and wet led brands, highlighting the continuing uncertainty. Our diverse estate, balanced across a wide range of offers, puts us in a strong position coming out of the pandemic. We are looking forward to the new financial year, with a renewed focus on our capital plan and generating both sales and efficiencies through our Ignite improvement programme.”

Broad variety of multi-site concepts set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A broad variety of multi-site concepts are among the 74 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 1 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Honey + Harvey, a speciality coffee and brunch spot, which is planning to open its third site in Ipswich and two other sites later this year. Also being added is London-based vegan deli, cafe and Scandinavian inspired concept White Pine, which is opening its second site in London. In addition, Suburban Inns, the pub and hotel group, has secured its next venue in Sutton Coldfield, which will be its fifth site in total. In Manchester, opening its fourth site – and its second site at MediaCityUK – is Grindsmiths, an artisan coffee business that has taken over the catering at Host Social. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,800-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the third edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 6 October, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. Premium subscribers also 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. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, plus regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. 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. To subscribe, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Fuller’s – life is gradually returning to normal: Fuller’s has reported that since fully reopening the estate in July, the company has traded at a steadily increasing level across its estate. In an AGM trading update, the company stated: “Managed like-for-like sales for the seven weeks to 18 September 2021 stand at 86% of 2019 levels, and we look forward to the further benefits of increasing footfall in the City and a continued return to office working.” Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “While we are not immune to some of the well-documented challenges facing the wider hospitality industry such as recruitment, the pandemic has further highlighted the attraction and resilience of our well-balanced, premium estate. Our rural pubs and hotels have benefited from the increase in domestic tourism during the summer months and we are now beginning to see a return of customers to our Central London pubs, which is a great sign as we head into a busy trading period. Life is gradually returning to normal, and the benefit of the continued investment in our pubs and hotels during lockdown is becoming evident. In particular, the winterisation projects that have been delivered across the estate will increase capacity and maximise the opportunity from our gardens and outside areas later into the winter months and early spring. Our Tenants have also invested in their pubs and this strategically important part of our business continues to perform well, underpinned by our successful recruitment and retention of great, entrepreneurial businesspeople with ambition and drive. It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone in hospitality – we are confident in our strategy and proud of our pubs and people. Our long-term vision has not changed, we have an excellent, well-invested estate, a strong balance sheet, and we look forward to the coming months with confidence and optimism.”

City Pub Company – trading on an upwards trajectory: The City Pub Group has reported trading on an upward trajectory with sales since the reopening of indoor trading on 17 May at above 90% of 2019 levels, with further improved trade in city centre sites since the beginning of September as return to work gathers pace. The company reported two new sites have been acquired signalling confidence in expansion. It said accommodation performed strongly over the summer benefitting from “staycations”. Ebitda was a break-even in the 26 weeks to 27 June despite the majority of period under covid-19 restrictions. Revenue was £8.9 million (H1 2020: £12.1 million). The company reported it streamlined its supply chain, reduced menu complexity and re-negotiated central contracts. Clive Watson, executive chairman of The City Pub Group, said: “We have traded well since May and are emerging strongly with a streamlined and more profitable business. We have continued to implement a relentless focus on cost control and we are capturing cost savings identified and negotiated over the last year. We are emerging from the pandemic in a good shape, well prepared for the challenges facing our industry. We have maintained and enhanced a number of our pubs and benefitted during staycation summer from our estate of more than 200 letting rooms. With our good trading and strong balance sheet we have begun to look to expand again recently making two significant acquisitions. Our ambition is for the estate to be in excess of a 100 pubs. We have the right team, a business that is in great shape, a very high quality bespoke largely freehold estate and plenty of opportunity to grow our business.”

Everyman – admissions growth has risen to 80% of 2019 levels: Cinema operator Everyman has reported that since capacity restrictions were lifted on 21 July, admissions growth has risen to 80% of 2019 levels (as at 16 September), despite being against a particularly strong comparative film slate. The business said that admissions between re-opening on 17 May and the period end were ahead of management expectations, at 66% of 2019 levels. It said that a “very strong film slate in Q4” is expected to drive further admissions growth. The company said that average ticket price had increased by 5% due to ticket type mix and modest inflation-related increases. At the same time, average food and beverage spend was £8.88, up 37% on the same period last year, driven by roll out of hand-held ordering units and kitchen upgrades. It currently operates an estate of 35 sites and 117 screens, with a committed pipeline for 2021/22 of six new venues, with Borough Market due to open in December 2021. In the 26 weeks ended 1 July 2021, the company reported revenue of £7.7m (H1 2020: £15.0m), impacted by covid-19 related temporary closure for the first 20 weeks of 2021. Adjusted Ebitda loss for the period stood at £1.4m (H1 2020: £0.5m profit), significantly impacted by the closures, with an operating loss of £7.7m (H1 2020: £12.3m loss). Alex Scrimgeour, chief executive of Everyman, said: “We have been encouraged with trading since re-opening on 17 May and are looking forward to a strong film slate in the last quarter of 2021. It has been a pleasure to welcome back our staff and see our customers enjoying all the aspects of the great night out that Everyman delivers. Our customers and in particular our members remain highly engaged, demonstrating that we have maintained exceptional brand loyalty throughout the period by keeping a constant dialogue with them. Despite some challenges remaining ahead, we are confident in our business model and that customers will continue to return to Everyman in ever increasing numbers over time. We have had significant support from all our key stakeholders for which we are very grateful. We remain confident in the Everyman brand and our ability to navigate out of recovery and back to growth.”

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