For the 13 weeks to 4 October, total like-for-like sales across the group rose to £15.1m, up 40.6% compared to the previous year.
For its 23 Oakman Inns sites, sales were up 25.4% to £13.3m, an increase of 2.7m on the previous year, while its four Ashmore Inns sites contributed £1.3m to total sales.
“Oakman has delivered the highest sales quarter in our history and in doing so have made considerable progress to restoring the damage done to our balance sheet during lockdown,” says executive chairman Peter Borg-Neal.
“The trading conditions since we reopened on 4 July have had a huge polarising effect on our industry with wet-led pubs and those in urban areas being negatively impacted through no fault of their own.”
Borg-Neal says that the location and size of Oakman’s pubs meant that it could weather the tough conditions better than some in the sector.
“Our pubs which are situated mainly in commuter belt market towns and in destination locations, have a substantial food offer, extensive internal areas and, in most cases, large gardens, have been ideally suited to the new trading conditions.”
The company says that even if the benefits of the VAT cut and the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme are discarded there is ‘still underlying double-digit’ like-for-like growth.
“What is more this is not just LFL but comparable growth as none of the 23 sites have benefited from significant capital expenditure in the last 18 months,” says Borg-Neal.
While commending the Government for its ‘excellent’ sector support with the business rates holiday, the VAT reduction and the Job Retention Scheme, Borg-Neal described the 10pm curfew as “unfair and illogical” describing it as a measure that “manages to damage both public health and the economy”.
Commenting on the future measures the company was taking, CEO Dermot King says Oakman was looking to retain its momentum.
“We are delivering a raft of initiatives to ensure that we can maintain momentum,” says King.
“Key among these is investment to create a variety of covered heated outdoor spaces to mitigate the capacity restrictions being driven by our Covid-safe protocol. These include our very own ‘beehive’ concept of hexagonal glass buildings which can be tessellated to create flexible layouts.”