Loungers, the operator of 173 neighbourhood café / bar / restaurants across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, announces the following update.
Loungers finished the financial year ended 18 April 2021 with 168 sites, having opened three new sites during the year. In the period from 19 April 2021 to 13 June 2021 a further five Lounge sites have been opened in Wolverhampton, St. Ives, Stourbridge, Welwyn Garden City and Blackpool.
In the period following the initial relaxation of Covid-19 related restrictions on 12 April 2021, Loungers opened 88 sites to trade outdoors only. Whilst the weather made this challenging at times, outdoors trading allowed for a phased and controlled re-opening of the estate. With the further relaxation of restrictions on 17 May 2021 allowing indoors trading, Loungers re-opened all of its sites. Like for like sales over the four-week period from 17 May through to 13 June 2021 were +26.6%, using the period 20 May to 16 June 2019 as the comparator. Whilst these are still early days, and trading has benefitted from significant pent-up demand and the VAT reduction, we are encouraged by the initial strength of our trading performance and remain confident the Company will emerge strongly from this period.
Net debt (excluding IFRS16 lease liabilities) at 18 April 2021 was £34.6m, with a further £12.9m of outstanding rent and deferred liabilities to HMRC.
Loungers will next update the market on 21 July 2021 when we publish our preliminary results for the year ended 18 April 2021.
Nick Collins, Chief Executive said:
"I am really pleased with how the business has re-opened and our trading performance has once again demonstrated the resilience of both the Lounge and Cosy Club brands. Customers have returned with confidence and our team have performed amazingly.
"Whilst the Government's recently announced decision to leave the remaining restrictions in place for a further four weeks is disappointing for the hospitality sector as a whole, we look forward to a return to normality on 19 July."