Pub group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) says it is confident of a strong reopening and recovery despite reporting a 12.4% drop in revenue.
Its interim results for the 26 weeks ended 11 April 2020 showed a total revenue of £1.039m, compared with the same period for last year of £1.186m, and an operating loss of £51m, compared with £140m profit in 2019. In January this year the group reported like-for-like sales growth of 5.6% over the three-week Christmas period.
The group, which is one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, with brands including All Bar One, Stonehouse and Innkeeper's Collection hotels, said it had been "performing well" before the government's enforced closure across the sector in March due to the pandemic.
Chief executive Phil Urban confirmed the group had been building on the strengths of their estate of mainly freehold properties, their "well-loved brands" and the team's "industry-leading" operational skills.
He said: "These assets, coupled with our early experience of reopening in Germany, give us a clear plan for reopening and ensure that we are well-placed to continue to bring people and communities together and to keep Mitchells & Butlers at the forefront of the eating and drinking-out market."
Last month the group announced they had extended their unsecured financing facilities by £100m to £250m as part of "new financing arrangements to provide security and flexibility".
M&B said it will be reopening their English sites this month, followed by those in Wales and Scotland over the next two weeks and confirmed a detailed reopening plan for the business, which includes new signage to maintain distancing, sanitising stations and disposable menus.
The group's total estate at the end of the period comprised 1,745 sites in the UK and Germany, of which 1,674 are directly managed.