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Sat 5th Dec 2015 - Gail's Bakery, JDW, Mitchells of Lancaster, crowdfunding
Gail’s Bakery reports turnover and profit boost: Gail’s Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, has reported that it has exceeded its sales target for the year to 28 February 2015, producing turnover of £18,319,000, up from £14,066,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit was £662,881, up from £559,275 the year before. The company stated: “The business has exceeded its sales targets for the past year. The strong like-for-like sales growth with the core retail bakeries has been supported by operational improvements across the company along with new retail bakery openings.”

Mitchells of Lancaster reports return to operating profit, nears resolution of funding: Mitchells of Lancaster has reported a return to operating profit in the year to 26 February 2015. Turnover declined to £8,928,138 from £9,503,718 the year before. Operating profit was £81,633 compared to a loss of £540,227 the year before. Pre-tax profit was £376,653, boosted by property profits of £295,020, compared to a profit of £1,056,5616 the year before, when the company saw property profits of £1,596,616. The company stated: “Turnover for the year amounted to £8,928,138, a decrease of £575,580 versus prior year mainly due to transferring pubs from temporary managed to tenancies. Administration expenses decreased by £889,154. The group has worked hard and continues to work hard to reduce the indebtedness. The total debt inclusive of loan notes has reduced from £16.8m as at February 2013 to £10.8m as the group has successfully generated funds from operations and property disposals to pay off the indebtedness. Negotiations are continuing with the bank and loan note holders, both of which have continued to support the company and a formal agreement is expected to be put in place with the bank in early 2016. When the programme is complete, the group will be leaner and with far less gearing. This will enable the group to generate funds for the benefit of the business rather than its funders.”

JD Wetherspoon found out about hacking from the Financial Times: JD Wetherspoon discovered hackers had stolen email addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth of 656,723 customers only after being informed by The Financial Times. According to JD Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin, an anonymous email was sent to chief executive John Hutson alerting him to the attack on 6 November. But it was picked up by the company’s spam filter – leaving the group in the dark about the breach until it was contacted by the Financial Times on Monday last week. The FT has seen evidence that personal details have been put up for sale by hackers on the so-called dark web. The group, which operates 900 pubs across Britain and employs 33,000 staff, said the database mostly contained customers’ names, dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers but “a tiny number of customers” had credit or debit card information stolen. The details were taken from customers who signed up to use Wi-Fi internet in Wetherspoon pubs and entered their personal details into the company’s system. A small number who bought Wetherspoon gift vouchers online also had information stolen. In addition, 15,000 staff who worked at the chain in 2010 had their details taken.

Crowdfunding campaign launched to revive former Brighton pub: A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on Seedrs in a bid to revive a former Brighton pub and prevent it becoming a Burger King. The Bison Arms is looking for £99,999 in return for 6.66% equity to bring 80 East Street back into use as a pub. So far 67 investors have pledged a total of £16,490 with 60 days remaining. The pitch states: “We aim to revive 80 East Street, Brighton as a pub specialising in craft beer, local beer, championing the best of what’s local including trades, artists, illustrators, writers and chefs to help us create this community based business. A real alternative to Burger King’s plans to open another franchise in this period property. We aim for it to be a modern pub with no ties showcasing the best of local cask and keg beers displayed in our ‘Tap Room’ the first in Brighton. A kitchen operation run by local talented chefs providing quality, fresh food with minimal waste using produce primarily from Sussex. A pub open day and in to the night, seven days a week that engages with the businesses and people around it striking the balance that considers the business, the residents, council and community. We want it to become a new hub for the community around East Street, one that acts as a positive force, is well managed and will add to the current momentum of the East Street improvements. A successful Seedrs campaign is what we need to begin the dream. Once we have sufficient backing we can take on a new 25-year lease from the landlord, prevent any other alternatives and begin work on creating The Bison Arms. Once set up The Bison Arms will operate as city centre pub and follow standard industry controls and growth targets. This campaign will see the funds to complete phase one. This aims to set up the ground floor pub business, Brighton’s first tap room and relaunch a food operation. We aim for the proceeds from this business to fund phase two to renovate the basement level and launch a second bar, microbrewery and venue as part of the existing Bison Arms business. Once phase one and two are complete we can focus on growth and then look at creating further sites under the same funding and management model.”

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