Embattled pub operator Regent Inns has reported a loss of £58.1m for the financial year it described as "the most challenging in the group's history".
The Walkabout and Jongleurs operator, which has been badly hit by the smoking ban and consumer slowdown, posted an operating loss of £52m in the year to 28 June (2007: £9.4m profit).
Overall turnover dropped 2% to £148.1m, while like-for-like sales were down 7.5%
Jim Glover, chairman of Regent Inns, said: "Market conditions for high street bars and for late night businesses in particular, have significantly deteriorated in the course of last year.
"We continue to focus our efforts on revenue maximisation and cost reduction, to enable us to withstand the pressures of the current economic climate and are pleased to have revised our banking facilities accordingly."
Regent Inns, which also operates the Old Orleans chain, confirmed it is not proceeding with a sale and leaseback of its freehold properties because "it would not deliver a satisfactory outcome for any of our stakeholders at this time".
Mark Brumby, leisure analyst at Blue Oar Securities, said: "Regent Inns is not out of the woods by any means and it is still not clear whether or not the group is worth more or less than the sum of its debt.
"Being realistic, it may well be worth less but today's announcement re the group's banking facilities will leave the group with a little time during which it has to stabilize trading."
By Daniel Thomas
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