Last six months ‘one of the toughest periods' for Young's as pub group swings to £21.8m loss

12 November 2020 by
Last six months ‘one of the toughest periods' for Young's as pub group swings to £21.8m loss

The last six months have been "one of the toughest periods" for Young's as the pub group has swung to a £21.8m pre-tax loss in its results for the first half of the year.

In the 26 weeks to 28 September 2020, the group reported revenue of £55.1m against £168.2m during the same period last year, impacted by the lengthy government-enforced closures.

Chief executive Patrick Dardis said: "Despite the challenges presented to us, our rural pubs and hotels, particularly those in the South West and in coastal regions, have delivered like-for-like growth against last year benefitting from the staycations and weekend visitors. These tougher times have also demonstrated our strength in controlling our cost base in a very efficient manner.

"Whilst we were hoping that a further lockdown could have been avoided, the second lockdown with the financial support available from the government will be considerably less damaging to our business than the potential move to Tier 3 in the areas that we operate. We remain positive at the prospect of trading in December."

The group said it was grateful for government support: the furlough scheme helped the business retain "a large proportion of our near 5,000 strong workforce", the business rates holiday saved Young's £7.7m, and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme encouraged customers back into pubs and restaurants throughout August. However, Dardis added that the latest restrictions and tiered system were "hugely disappointing for our sector".

Particularly in central London and the City, Young's pubs have been hit "exceptionally hard", with sales "only averaging around half the levels of last year", with the restrictions on vertical drinking contributing to a 23.2% decline in like-for-like drink sales for the 10 weeks of trade.

Dardis added: "At this time, we would usually have 90% of bookings already in the diary; without the prospect of hosting large group get togethers, corporate Christmas parties and spontaneous festive drinks, the outlook for this December is far from certain."

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