Regent Inns future in doubt unless it addresses falling sales
Walkabout owner Regent Inns has admitted that it will not survive unless it rebuilds its flagging sales.
Sales in the half year ended 27 December fell by £9.5m to £67.6m (2007: £77.1m), with the company's comedy club business Jongleurs hit particularly hard by a fall in corporate bookings and a rise in cancellations in the run in to Christmas.
In his chairman's statement, Jim Glover said it was now clear that cost reduction within the business would not be enough and "ultimately future success will depend on rebuilding sales".
The company, which secured the continuing support of its bankers last year, reduced net debt by £500,000 to £78.4m during the period. This was despite making a pre-tax loss of £2.3m (2007: £1m).
Like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the second half are 11.7% lower than last year.
Regent said it hoped to complete shortly on the sale of three sites from amongst 12 it placed on the market last year.
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By Chris Druce
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