Brighton Pier Group reduces bar estate

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Brighton Pier Group closes three marginal bars Smash Wimbledon PoNaNa Bath Fez Cambridge

Related tags: Brighton, Luke johnson, Coronavirus, Pub & bar

The Brighton Pier Group has confirmed the permanent closed of three marginal sites from its bar division.

Smash in Wimbledon and PoNaNa in Bath were both disposed of last year, while the lease for Fez in Cambridge, which expired in December 2020, was not renewed.

The group's bar division, previously known as Eclectic, now has nine bars, having at one stage operated 25.

In half year results to 27 December 2020, Brighton Pier Group reported revenue for the bars division fell to £700,000, compared to £6.6m in 2019.

With nearly all the bars estate closed throughout the period, these sales came from the two food-led operations, Lowlander in Covent Garden, which launched a takeaway and a ‘supper club’ offer; and La Plage restaurant on the beach terrace of Coalition in Brighton.

Despite the challenges to trading, overall profit for the Luke Johnson-backed group after highlighted items and before tax rose by 44% from £1.8m in 2019 to £2.7m.

This is attributed to the income from the group's business interruption insurance claim​; strong ​summer trading (especially at the Pier and golf sites); Government support by way of furlough, grants, rates and VAT reductions; and the one-off extinguishment of lease liabilities from disposal of the three bar sites.

Group profit before tax and highlighted items was down 59% at £0.8m, compared to £2m in 2019 - this excludes the £1.9m of one-off gains arising from disposal of the bar sites.

Total group revenue for the period was down 53% to £8.2m from £17.3m in 2019.

Anne Ackord, chief executive, said: “We look forward to the reopening of all of our businesses, following what has been a traumatic time for the whole industry. We are encouraged by our performance during the relatively short times when we have been permitted to operate and have full confidence that the group is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that the anticipated staycation boom will present, along with the expected pent-up retail spend.

“We are pleased to note that the combination of the strong summer trading in the Pier and Golf coupled with the receipt of interim business interruption payments have resulted in earnings before tax 44% ahead of the same period last year.”

Related topics: Pubs & Bars, Business

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