UK restaurant and bar chain Loungers has seen revenue fall by more than half in the last financial year, but said it had experienced “significant” sales growth since reopening in May.
The Bristol-founded group, which operates 175 Lounges and Cosy Club branches, saw income drop 53% in the 12 months to April 2021 to just over £78m.
The company made a loss before tax of £13.3m, compared to £2m profit the year previously.
But Loungers said in the nine weeks to July 18, it had seen net like-for-like sales growth up by 23.7% on the same period in 2019.
The business said flexible working was driving traffic to local high streets rather than city centres and UK staycations were also having an impact.
According to the business, its non-property net debt at July 11 was £18.2m – down from £34.2m on April 18.
Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, said each time the business had re-opened in the past 18 months it had achieved “consistent, sector-leading sales growth”.
“We welcomed the removal of all Covid related restrictions on Monday and whilst there is naturally short-term uncertainty, we are looking ahead with real confidence,” he said.
The chain, which opened seven sites in the last financial year, said it was planning to move back to a run rate of 25 openings a year.
Lounger sites opened this year include St. Ives in Cornwall, Wolverhampton Stourbridge, Welwyn Garden City and Blackpool.
Mr Collins added: “The strategy that we outlined when we floated the business in 2019, and our place on the high street, have never looked more relevant.
“The last few weeks have been very challenging operationally, and as we head into the summer holidays, the operating environment will continue to be difficult as we face interruption due to positive Covid cases and self isolation, and a very tight labour market in a number of locations.”
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