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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 8th Nov 2016 - Town and Country Inns goes into administration
Town and Country Inns goes into administration: Town and Country Inns, the Birmingham-based group that operates Fleet Street Kitchen, Apres, Lexicon and Mechu, has gone into administration. The company has five sites but three of those are on Summer Row and Fleet Street, which join the A457 in Birmingham city centre that has been subject to major diversions since redevelopment work began. It also has sites in Sutton Coldfield and Cheltenham. Joanne Hammond and Gareth Rusling of Begbies Traynor have been appointed administrators. In May, managing director Keith Williams warned the group was “weeks away” from appointing an administrator after revenues dropped by £400,000 in a four-month period. It had called on Birmingham City Council and its landlords to review its rates and rent bills to enable the group to continue. In its most recent accounts, Town and Country Inns reported it had reduced its losses but seen a fall in turnover of nearly £1m after “being blighted by a perfect storm of bad luck”. The company saw a pre-tax loss of £1,117,798 in the year ending 31 March 2015, compared with a loss of £3,496,586 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Turnover fell to £6,668,441, compared with £7,641,395 the previous year. In the most recent company accounts, the company stated: “The company sold its freehold properties in the year, thus enabling it to repay the bank borrowings in full, thus the company has replaced capital and interest payments with lower property rentals. Not only has the venue in Cheltenham been subjected to long-standing road works, but the three largest of the company’s venues are in, or next to, Summer Row, a once bustling ‘destination’ address in Birmingham that has been decimated by vast regeneration works. The pursuit of new blood in the form of three new director appointments (Benjamin Smith, Matthew Boyden, Martin Brown) has been pivotal to the company’s fight back. As such, it is important to emphasise that the company can, and will, work through these operational burdens, but their significance needs to be understood within the context in which the company is compelled to trade, at a time when it is otherwise concentrating on the future of the business and its assets.”

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