Brighton Pier Group has reported revenue of £32m in its latest financial results, a slight increase on last year's £31.4m, following a profit warning earlier this year.
The Brighton Pier Group owns and trades Brighton Palace Pier, which this year celebrated its 120th anniversary, as well as seven indoor mini golf sites and 12 bars nationwide including two ping-pong concept bars. Since the acquisition of the Brighton Palace Pier, in 2016, the group has spent nearly £2m on its substructure.
The Luke Johnson-chaired group released a profit warning in January following "broadly flat" bar sales over the Christmas period, exacerbated by the protracted closure of its Putney Fez bar, disappointing weather over the August bank holiday and disruption to railway services.
In its results for the 52 weeks to 30 June 2019 the group reported group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before highlighted items of £5.3m against £5.2m the previous year, as well as profit before tax and highlighted items of £3.2m, no change on 2017.
Its pier division saw revenue up £200,000 to £14.7m following its first full year of trading since the upgrade of the restaurant and bars last year, while its conference and events business was up 37% year-on-year. Arcades and catering sales were up £600,000; however, rides and retail were disrupted or closed by high winds and rain, meaning EBITDA was down £300,000 versus last year.
Meanwhile, its bars division saw the full refit and reopening of its Putney Fez bar, which was delayed by ‘structural issues', and the disposal of the freehold of its Derby site for £800,000. Revenue for the bars division was £12.8m, down £1.9m on the previous year, £500,000 of which related to the closure of Fez.
Upgrades of the London to Brighton mainline railway, which completed in May 2019 and caused some disruption to the group last year, combined with the good weather on the August bank holiday weekend this year, contributed to achieving a record week and meeting expectations for the 2019 summer.
Chief executive Anne Ackord said: "The pier has benefited hugely from the new investment in the transformed Horatio's Bar and Palm Court restaurant – but of equal importance has been the continued investment in the structure over the last six years. This continued investment will ensure that this landmark venue will be there for future generations to enjoy for another 120 years."
Johnson added: "The leisure and hospitality industry continues to have its challenges - and this year has continued to see cost inflation, additional taxes and intense competition. However, your board continues to believe that the Brighton Pier Group remains well placed to take advantage of opportunities throughout the sector. We have a well-invested and diversified portfolio of experiential attractions in good locations. Overall, the group will continue to generate cash and repay its borrowings."