Founder Hamish Stoddart reports that in 2019, business was ‘flat like-for-like at £27m’, with operating profit before exceptional items was £423,000 for 2019, down from £671,000 the previous year.
This decrease is ‘a disappointment’ says Stoddart and reflects the growing cost pressure on hospitality businesses in general between 2017 and 2019.
"We need to achieve increased like-for-like sales growth in our current pubs and we aim to find additional pubs that can be added to our portfolio,” he says.
“Peach is set up to do both through its strategic plan and the centre structure that has capacity to manage more pubs highly effectively."
In 2020, Peach refinanced the business, selling four freeholds for ground rent leases and removing most of its debt.
During lockdown, it paid all its creditors and has now concluded deals and paid all of its landlords up to date. The company also launched social enterprise Your Hub Pub to support its pubs’ local community and furloughed teams and cooked, served and delivered meals to the NHS, homeless organisations and local communities.
It reports that reduction in VAT and the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, alongside the favourable summer weather, meant that during July it was able to recover some of the substantial losses it sustained from March to June.
September has also been profitable for the group, it says.
"Peach is in as good a place as any hospitality business," says Stoddart Hamish.
"Work from home is a positive for our pubs, as are staycations and fewer people taking foreign holidays. Our late night bar trade is not huge; our guest base is still coming out to eat but is missing the bar. We have a shorter menu and more specials. Spend per head is up by 20%.
“We retained our whole team except for a few individuals which we sadly made redundant in July. The whole experience allowed us to review and improve how we work and tighten costs.
While the company says it isn’t releasing exact trading numbers it believes it will end up post Covid-19 next summer with increased covers and spend per head.
"Winter today looks pretty scary for all hospitality businesses and for Peach too. Since the 10pm curfew and the weather turning, we have dropped 15% on our like-for-like performance in September,” adds Stoddart.
“We will be close to breakeven over the winter period to April 2021 as long there aren’t more Covid-19 regulations that scare our guest base or stop us trading.
"10pm curfew is just hurting all pubs and bars without any evidence of being beneficial to reducing Covid-19 transmission. Christmas will a huge drop on previous years.
“A second national lockdown would be hugely costly and we presume supported in some form by the government. We are comfortable we have enough funding and free cash in place to survive most eventualities through working with our team and all our suppliers.”