Northcote Leisure Group has seen group turnover increase 8% to £11m due to the launch of a new cafe at Blackburn Cathedral and growth in hotel revenue.
This is according to the group’s accounts for the year to 31 March 2017 filed at Companies House. Northcote Leisure Group encompasses the four-red-AA-star Northcote hotel in Langho, Lancashire; the newly-opened Café Northcote at Blackburn Cathedral; Northcote at the Rovers; and Ribble Valley Inns.
Loss before tax for the year was £731,000, an improvement on the £924,000 loss the previous year.
Revenue increased year-on-year by 11% at the 26-bedroom hotel, which holds a Michelin star, as revenue streams from additional bedrooms, private dining, the chef’s table and cookery school continued to mature.
Occupancy at the hotel, which was named AA Hotel of the Year – England 2016/17, was 64.6%, with an average room rate of £149 and revenue per available room of £96.
Café Northcote, which began trading on 8 June 2016, contributed £375,000 revenue to the accounts. Turnover was described as “steady” since opening, with good lunchtime and early afternoon trade.
The group’s focus in 2017/18 will be to increase sales from breakfast, afternoon tea and take-out trade at the café, add more covers to the outside area and focus on private events and takeovers to add additional income streams.
Revenue at Northcote at the Rovers declined by 8% in the year, with both events and match day revenue suffering due to the football club’s performance. Ribble Valley Inns turnover decreased by 0.6% in the year as a result of no Easter trade and increased competition at some sites.
Craig Bancroft, managing director of the group and 2017 Hotelier of the Year and winner of the 2017 Cateys Wine and Spirit Ambassador Award, described the year in the accounts as “turbulent”. He pointed to challenges such as the economic uncertainty caused by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and significant cost increases like the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016.
He added: “Given the climate, we are happy to report an increase in operating performance compared to last year.”
Bancroft and chef Nigel Haworth acquired a stake in the business in 1986, buying the hotel outright three years later. In 2012, investors Richard and Lynda Matthewman became majority shareholders which brought about the restructuring of Northcote Leisure Group and resulted in a £7m redevelopment and refurbishment, completed in 2014.
Nigel Haworth announced his resignation as a director of the company in October, changing his role from chef-patron and joint managing director to ambassador.
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