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Thu 10th Jun 2021 - Update: Comptoir, Inn Collection Group, lockdown easing, hospitality recovery
Comptoir reports £8.1m loss in 2020 after sales fell 62.6%: Comptoir has reported revenue of £12.5m in the year to 31 December 2020, down by 62.6% (2019: £33.4m). Loss after tax was £8.1m (2019: £0.7m loss). Richard Kleiner, non-executive chairman, said: “It has been an unprecedented year that has bought with it considerable challenges. However, the team has navigated these challenges incredibly well. All of our team members have worked tirelessly with incredible dedication and passion to ensure we emerge focused and ready to serve our customers once again. During the periods of closure, costs were minimised, suppliers and landlords actively engaged and more importantly, the relationship with our restaurant team and our customers remained as strong as ever. The Comptoir brand has cemented its strength during the pandemic with its excellent quality, healthy food served all served in the safest possible environment, whilst retaining the genuine feel of family and friendly hospitality that is the very heart and soul of our offering. I am encouraged by the strong performance of our eat-in business since the limited reopening of sites and with the government roadmap set out and the vaccine roll-out continuing at a pace I’m optimistic for the coming year post-lockdown, and continue to be confident in the public’s appetite to safely socialise and enjoy our family hospitality; We look forward, once it is safe, to fully welcome back our customers and teams.” The company has permanently closed sites in Gatwick (March 2020) Heathrow (March 2020), Poland Street (May 2021). Haymarket will close in June and a site in Leeds will close on or before April 2022. On current trading, it stated: “The group began a phased re-opening of its restaurants for full dining from 12 April in line with government guidelines for outside dining only. On 17 May we opened for full dining inside and out. Our franchise partners HMS Host have re-opened three out of the four sites they operate (Utrecht, Ashford and Cheshire Oaks). The fourth HMS Host site in Dubai is due to open soon. As mentioned above, the two franchise restaurants operated by The Restaurant Group in Heathrow and Gatwick will not re-open. Trading has been extremely encouraging since reopening the 21 managed sites on the 17th May in compliance with the government guidelines for group sizes and social distancing, as well as continuing to offer takeaway/click and collect and delivery services. We look forward to being able to trade fully across the summer and beyond. As a result of this trading performance, the group continues to plan the opening pipeline for the next three years. The focus on the health and safety of our team members and guests has been further enhanced by the implementation of a new Comptoir app providing our guests with the option to order and pay safely at the table.”

Hospitality slowest sector to regain pre-pandemic levels: The hospitality sector will take over a year longer to recover to its pre-pandemic size than the wider economy, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says. In a report published today and seen by The Times, the BCC said that the economy would return to its pre-covid-19 size by the first quarter of next year but warned that the hospitality sector would not recover until the second quarter of 2023. Other sectors will rebound more quickly. The BCC said manufacturing, which has weathered the lockdowns better than services, would recover to its pre-crisis size by the end of this year. It is less optimistic than the Bank of England, which expects the economy to recover by the final quarter of this year, after growing by 7.25%, its fastest since the Second World War. The BCC said that the economy would expand by 6.8% this year, assuming the government sticks to its road map for reopening the economy. Consumer spending is likely to be the main driver of the economic rebound. “The release of pent-up demand if restrictions ease as currently planned and the rapid vaccine rollout is forecast to drive the strongest growth in spending since 1988, as consumers spend some of their unanticipated savings accumulated during lockdowns,” the report said. “Despite the immediate boost to UK GDP, our latest outlook projects an uneven recovery. Output from catering and hospitality are forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels in Q2 2023.”

Boris Johnson is examining a “mix-and-match” lifting of restrictions on 21 June: Boris Johnson is examining a “mix-and-match” approach to easing lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June, following a surge in cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus. According to The FT, the prime minister said the government needed to assess whether “the vaccine rollout has built up enough protection in the population in order to go ahead to the next stage” of easing restrictions. Johnson will make his final decision on Monday (14 June). A senior government official said that fears about the new variant meant a “mix-and-match approach is probably on the cards, given the limited number of levers left”. One cabinet minister said officials were “trying to find a solution that pleases the PM’s instincts” to reopen society, noting that allowing a tweak to regulations to allow larger weddings to go ahead would be “easy”, though nightclubs were not expected to open “for a while”.

Inn Collection Group hires David Campbell as operations director: The Inn Collection Group has appointed David Campbell as operations director. Campbell, who was operations director at The Coaching Inn Group, joins the 23-site group at a pivotal time as the company begins a new phase of business expansion through acquisitions and organic growth. Managing director of The Inn Collection Group Sean Donkin said: “David is a phenomenal hospitality professional and an outstanding operations director. Not only is he passionate about the sector and its people, he brings a wealth of experience and expertise into the group at a fundamental time of growth for us. We have an active pipeline of new sites coming on the horizon and David’s appointment is a statement of intent as we enter what is a dynamic new growth phase. We are looking forward to working together with him as we continue our expansion strategy which is to grow in sites and operations where we can add value, while continuing to build and nurture our exceptional team of people at all levels.” Campbell, who has over 25 years’ experience in the trade and was part of the senior teams at Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers, said: “It’s exciting and very rare in these times to see a company with such a story of growth as The Inn Collection Group has. It’s a tremendous time to be joining the company and supporting with an operational platform that will facilitate the further success of what is a fantastic business, while being humble enough to understand we have work to be done in what is a challenging environment..” Campbell’s announcement follows The Inn Collection Group’s acquisition of several new sites across the north of England, including The Park in Tynemouth, North Tyneside; The Carlton in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire and The Wateredge Inn and The Waterhead Inn in Ambleside, Cumbria. The Inn Collection Group launched its debut Wearside site, The Seaburn Inn on Sunderland seafront earlier this week. Backed by Alchemy and supported with banking through OakNorth, the group’s estate list includes further venues in Northumberland, Cumbria, County Durham, Yorkshire and Lancashire. Its Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore pubs-with-rooms brand features food-driven pubs with rooms in exceptional sites across the north of England.

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