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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 9th Nov 2021 - Shepherd Neame reports strong demand since re-opening
Shepherd Neame reports strong demand since re-opening: Shepherd Neame, the owner and operator of 310 high quality pubs in Kent and the south east, has reported strong demand since re-opening. Total revenue for the year ended 26 June 2021 was £86.9m (2020: £118.2m).Statutory loss before tax was £16.4m (2020: loss of £21m). The company stated: “To put the year’s results in context, our pubs had been closed for 296 of the previous 421 days when they were allowed to reopen indoors on 17 May 2021. As at 26 June 2021 the company carried out a revaluation of its licensed assets which showed a surplus over book value of £35.9m, +13%. For the initial period from 12 April (when pubs reopened) to 16 May, open retail pubs achieved 62% of 2019 sales and from 17 May, when indoor trading resumed, to the year end on 26 June, those same sites achieved 97% of 2019 sales. Total beer volume has been resilient throughout the pandemic. We have obtained new on-trade customers since re-opening and new listings in other channels. Total volume in all channels was +8.4% in May and June versus 2019. For the 11 weeks from 12 April to 26 June, tenanted pubs achieved 77% of their 2019 volume. For the four weeks to 26 June, they achieved 91% of their 2019 beer volumes. Rent was phased back in stages during this period to reach normal levels by August 2021. The start of the new financial year has been encouraging. Demand for food and accommodation, in particular, has been strong since July. Drinks trade is recovering since the return to offices in London from September. For the 18 weeks from 27 June to 30 October, same outlet like-for-like sales in retail pubs were 91% of 2019 and up +37.0% vs 2020. As at 1 November 2021 the company exchanged contracts to sell two hotels that no longer fit our portfolio for £5.75m to RedCat Pub Company. This will complete in mid-November.” Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, said: “We are greatly encouraged by the customer response since re-opening and are confident that beer and pubs remain every bit as core to British life as pre-pandemic. We have spent the last year productively: building a better business, strengthening our brand presence and maintaining our pubs to be in optimal shape for reopening. Our relationships with our licensees remain strong and we have few tenanted vacancies. We feel we are in the best shape we can be, in the circumstances, and this has resulted in a strong and sustainable recovery. We face challenges ahead, particularly with supply chain and inflationary pressures. That said, we are confident that the long term fundamental drivers for the business remain strong, including the ongoing infrastructure investment in our heartland, anticipated local population growth, changes in consumer and workplace trends, and our position at the centre of the community. We have a solid platform and a clear plan to build on our recovery, assisted by our strong balance sheet. For the rest of this year, we remain focused on meticulous cost control, tight cashflow management and further reducing net debt. We look forward to 2022 with optimism and, with every day that passes, confidence grows that we can not only recover lost ground, but recover well, unlock growth opportunities and release the full potential of the business. We intend to return to prior levels of investment and restore the dividend as soon as circumstances allow.”

Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector losses of £7.3bn: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £7.3bn being reported by 265 companies. However, a further 191 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £849.5m. The next edition will include 456 companies, an increase of 31 companies compared with the October edition. The 456 companies produce total turnover of £30.2bn. The next edition of the Blue Book will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (12 November) at midday. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive two other databases – the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. 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; 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

Gordon Ramsay confirmed for Liverpool opening: Chef Gordon Ramsay has confirmed he will open a site in Liverpool under his Bread Street Kitchen concept. As Propel revealed last month, The chef, who is accelerating the roll-out of his Bread Street Kitchen, Street Pizza and Street Burger concepts, has secured the former Jamie’s Italian in Liverpool’s Paradise Street, Liverpool One, for an opening under the former brand. Ramsay currently operates three Bread Street Kitchen & Bar sites in London, plus a Bread Street Cafe in Ealing. He is set to open a Bread Street Kitchen in Edinburgh, on Drake & Morgan’s former The Refinery in St Andrews Square, later this week. The chef is also understood to currently be the lead bidder to take space on the upper floor of 22 Bishopsgate in the City. Meanwhile, Propel understands Ramsay is eyeing a further site in London for his fast-growing Street Burger concept. The chef is understood to have applied to take the ex-By Chloe site at One Tower Bridge.

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