Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Loungers hires new chief operating officer and approaches 2021 'with enthusiasm and optimism'

02 December 2020 by
Loungers hires new chief operating officer and approaches 2021 'with enthusiasm and optimism'

Eve Bugler is set to join Loungers as chief operating officer on 14 December, having previously worked as interim commercial director at Nando's India, and most recently founded BabaBoom.

Justin Carter (Lounge managing director) and Amber Wood (Cosy Club managing director) will continue to report into chief executive Nick Collins.

The group announced the appointment in its financial results for the 24 weeks ended 4 October 2020, in which it reported revenue of £53.5m, a decline of 33%, reflecting the closure of sites during the national lockdown, and a pre-tax profit of £117,000 against a loss of £2.5m during the same period in 2019.

The group said the current situation is allowing it to drive "better deals" for sites including "access to better sites in better locations" and it anticipates returning to a run rate of 25 new site openings per year in the financial year ending April 2022.

However, chief executive Nick Collins was critical of the government. He said: "As a business we are fortunate that Christmas is not as materially important as is it for many in hospitality, however it is bewildering that the government has chosen to penalise the hospitality sector with no credible evidence to justify it. As a result of these decisions 36% of our sites will be closed for at least the next two weeks."

Collins described recent restrictions as "bewildering" and "unfair", appearing to "lack any scientific basis", and said they will "decimate the hospitality industry across the UK".

He said: "These most recent interventions, at the most critical time of year for the sector, will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, see the demise of thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants and leave vacant properties across the UK. The impact on the livelihoods and health of the sector's predominantly young workforce and on communities and high streets across the UK will be felt for years to come.

"I would strongly urge the government to engage with our sector, provide immediate, targeted support where required, and re-consider the ill-thought through policies that have brought much of our industry to its knees."

However, he added that Loungers approaches 2021 "with enthusiasm and optimism" and a "strong balance sheet".

Loungers operates 168 café/bar/restaurants across England and Wales under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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