Loungers, the operator of 168 venues across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has confirmed it plans to open four new Lounge sites in Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, Welwyn Garden City and St Ives by 26 May.
Bringing the estate to 172 sites in total, comprising 142 Lounges and 30 Cosy Clubs, these new sites were partially fitted out going into lockdown at the end of December 2020 and are currently being completed.
The group said it anticipated and was ready to return to opening 25 new sites per year for the year to April 2022, assuming no further Covid interruptions, with further openings planned ahead of the summer holidays in Blackpool, Scarborough and Aberystwyth.
Loungers also confirmed that its lending banks, Santander and Bank of Ireland, have approved a 12-month extension to the incremental £15m revolving credit facility that was put in place in April 2020. This additional facility now runs to October 2022 and provides the company with total revolving credit facilities of £25m.
With the sector beginning to reopen from Monday, Loungers said it would initially open 47 sites in England on 12 April for takeaway and external trading, and five sites in Wales on 26 April on the same basis, with all subsequent sites in England to reopen on 17 May according to the government's reopening roadmap.
Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, said: "We expect to trade well once the estate is fully re-opened, particularly with our strong coastal presence as we look forward to a summer of staycationing. Planned new openings in Blackpool, Scarborough and Aberystwyth ahead of the summer holidays will reinforce this position. Our suburban and market town locations, combined with our flexible, all-day model, mean we are well-positioned as we look to the future.
"The most recent lockdown has given us a real opportunity to build a fantastic pipeline of new sites in what is undoubtedly a tenant-friendly environment. We will approach the coming months cautiously but are very keen to get back to opening 25 sites a year at the earliest opportunity with such excellent properties being presented to us, and we are grateful to Santander and Bank of Ireland for their continued support."