Oakman lines up 'strongest ever pipeline' of new sites

pub & bar

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Oakman lines up 'strongest ever pipeline' of new sites

Related tags: Oakman Group, Peter Borg-Neal, Oakman inns, Multi-site pub operators, Pub & bar

Oakman Group's estate is set to grow by some 25% having secured what its directors believe is its 'strongest ever pipeline' of new sites.

The pub and inn group, which currently operates a portfolio of 36 sites primarily concentrated in the home counties, confirmed in its latest trading update that it has recently completed significant refurbishments of two sites and is due to open two new locations within the next two months in Buckingham and Tring.

It also announced a £29m refinance of its freehold estate with Cynergy Bank providing £18m of that figure.

With regards to takings, despite the impact of the Omicron Covid variant on the key festive period total sales (net of VAT) for the 31 weeks ending Sunday 6 February 2022 were £37.9m – a 74.3% growth over last year when the business was forced to close.

Compared to the same period two years earlier, this represents a total growth of 28.3% and like-for-like growth of 12.0%.

Taking into account and adjusting for VAT reductions, Oakman Group's like for like sales were 8% up, rising to 11% when discounting the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

Last year Oakman said it is looking to more than double its estate to around 70 pubs by mid 2026​, and the new openings announced will help to begin propelling it towards that figure. 

To proactively mitigate against the wider recruitment struggles currently faced by the hospitality sector as it grows, the group has launched an Oakman Chef Academy that's based at The Woburn in Bedfordshire and run by chef director Ross Pike.

The Academy gives newcomers to the industry the opportunity to retrain in a new career with a guaranteed job at the end of the course.

Oakman adds that it also has 20 apprentices on programmes including degree apprenticeships at Basecamp and with some of their senior operators. 

In the trading update, Oakman chairman and founder Peter Borg-Neal also announced to shareholders a development of the group's green credentials with the creation of a kitchen garden at The Akeman Inn in Buckinghamshire.

He said: “This prototype development aims to achieve a multiplicity of objectives.

“Key is an exploration of how the company can shorten the supply chain and utilise local. Furthermore, it will act as an education centre and for engaging with the local community.

“If the kitchen garden is a success, Oakman will look to replicate the idea at the other sites across the estate where sufficient land is available.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Pub & Bar

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