Fall in customer spend will hit Regent Inns performance

02 November 2007 by
Fall in customer spend will hit Regent Inns performance

Walkabout and Old Orleans operator Regent Inns today warned of a potential triple-whammy that could squeeze its sales after they fell by 1% over the past 14 weeks.

The predicted downturn in consumer spending, the continued fallout from the smoking ban and England's football team failing to qualify for the Euro 2008 summer championships would see the group suffering, especially given the reliance of the Walkabout chain on televised sport.

Regent Inns said it would seek to offset this "cautious" forecast with operational improvements in its Old Orleans chain of restaurants, which it bought from Punch Taverns for £26m in August 2006, to deliver growth.

It is currently spending £4m on refurbishing the casual dining chain to bring the brand up to date.

In the 14 weeks ending 6 October, Regent Inns saw its like-for-like sales fall by 1% compared with 2006, but like-for-like food sales rose by 8.5%.

Bars with outdoor areas for smokers performed better than those without with sales up by 2.1% on last year.

The operator also said that the England rugby team's progress to the final of the Rughy World Cup had given significant benefits to its sales at Walkabout. However sales at Old Orleans and its comedy club business Jongleurs had declined during the same period.

Regent Inns hit by poor summer weather >>

Regent Inns to spend £4m on Old Orleans refurbishment >>

Regent Inns's Old Orleans drags the company's performance down >>

By Christopher Walton

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