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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 14th Oct 2022 - Update: Loungers reports lfl sales growth of 17% in 24 weeks to 2 October
Loungers lfl sales up 17% in 24 weeks to 2 October: Cafe bar operator Loungers, owner of the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has said it has continued to “significantly outperform the market” and is on track to open 30 sites in its current financial year. It delivered like-for-like sales growth of 17% in the 24 weeks ended 2 October 2022, versus the period 22 April to 6 October 2019. The company said: “The continued strength of performance against a well-documented challenging macroeconomic backdrop is testament to the relevance and resilience of our brands. Our balance sheet remains strong with non-property net debt at 2 October 2022 of £9.5m (3 October 2021: £11.9m), reflecting the timing of September month end working capital cash outflows.” Since the start of the financial year, the business has opened 11 new sites, comprising eight Lounges and three Cosy Clubs, taking its portfolio to 206 sites as of today. In line with its recently accelerated roll-out plans, the company said it expects to open a further 19 sites in the current financial year. Nick Collins, chief executive, said: “Loungers continues to thrive and I am delighted with our consistent out-performance of the market, thanks to the fantastic efforts of our teams and the hospitality they provide. We are particularly pleased with the strong performance of our new openings and we are on track to open 30 sites this year. As our strong sales performance demonstrates, neither uncertainty in respect of the wider UK economy nor consumer attitudes towards discretionary spending have to date impacted our sales. We are continuing to benefit from more people staying local, working from home, and supporting their community and high street, which are trends that we believe are here to stay. We are operating in a particularly inflationary environment and we are working hard to mitigate inbound cost pressures and to maintain the value for money principles that are so important to our customers. We continue to focus on getting the right balance and take confidence from the positioning of both Lounge and Cosy Club and their market-leading track records.”

Latest edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book being sent to Premium subscribers today: The latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 14 October), at midday. The Blue Book now features 638 companies following the addition of another 18 companies, while accounts have been updated for 35 businesses. The Blue Book shows more sector companies are making a profit than a loss for the first time since the pandemic. While total losses of £5.4bn are being reported by 314 companies, a further 324 sector companies are reporting total profits of £1.7bn. They are turning over a collective £32.3bn. 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 access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate, the New Openings Database, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. 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 single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. 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 group editor Mark Wingett.

Nightcap opens biggest The Cocktail Club site to date, in Birmingham: Bar operator Nightcap has opened the biggest site to date for its The Cocktail Club brand, in Birmingham. The site in Temple Street is the brand’s 16th and the venue, set across two floors and three rooms, has capacity for 450 people. Founded by John James “JJ” Goodman and James Hopkins, the first site opened in London’s Goodge Street in 2009. A further eight sites were opened in the capital across the following eight years, with its first regional opening coming in 2018, in Bristol. Following a rapid period of growth after being acquired by Nightcap at the beginning of 2021, The Cocktail Club is now expanding further in the regions while it will also open a site in London’s Canary Wharf this month.

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