Brighton Pier Group permanently closes three bars
Brighton Pier Group has permanently closed three of its bars after coronavirus restrictions took a toll on trading.
Last year the company shut Smash in Wimbledon, PoNaNa in Bath, and did not renew the lease for Fez in Cambridge after it expired in December 2020.
The Luke Johnson-chaired group operates Brighton Palace Pier and runs nine bars and eight indoor golf facilities across the UK.
Its bar division, formerly Eclectic Bars Limited, saw revenue fall to £700,000 in the six months to 27 December 2020, compared to £6.6m in 2019.
With nearly all of the bars estate closed during the period, sales came from the launch of a food takeaway and supper club offer at Lowlander in Covent Garden and the outdoor La Plage restaurant at Coalition nightclub in Brighton.
Last August the group gave redundancy notices to "all but essential staff" in the bars division. In a trading update it said it was "forced" to take this action because the government had yet to commit to extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme beyond its original end date of 31 October.
However, overall profit after highlighted items and before tax for the period rose 44% to £2.7m, compared to £1.8m in 2019, due to strong summer sales at its pier and golf divisions and a £1.4m business interruption insurance payout.
The company, which was covered by the ‘Marsh resilience" insurance wording, received £500,000 for its bar arm and £900,000 for the golf division. It expects to receive further payments into the second half of the financial year.
Chief executive Anne Ackord 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."
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