Loungers – the neighbourhood café, restaurant and bar group that operates the Lounge and Cosy Club brands – has revealed its like-for-like sales have increased by 29.9% since reopening on 4 July following lockdown.
The group credits its strong performance to the benefits of both the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the VAT reduction on food and non-alcoholic drinks, though regardless of these impacts, like-for-like sales have been positive over the nine weeks from 13 July to 13 September 2020 regardless.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK on a national scale, the group saw a like-for-like sales growth of +4.5%, total sales growth of 21.9% in the 44 weeks to 23 February 2020 and 21 new sites opened.
Since lockdown, two new sites have opened, and Loungers has confirmed ‘cautious’ plans to open four further sites by the end of the current financial year.
“I am delighted with the strength of our performance since re-opening which highlights how strategically well-positioned we are in both Lounge and Cosy Club,” comments Nick Collins, CEO of Loungers.
“Our like for like sales of +30% over the last 10 weeks includes the remarkable four weeks of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the government’s support for our sector continues to be much appreciated.
“More importantly, however, having fully re-opened our underlying sales are in growth even without this support.
“We have focused on providing amazing hospitality, whilst reassuring our teams and customers the Lounges and Cosy Clubs are a safe environment, and our customers have been quick to return.
“During lockdown we were confident the flexibility of our all-day offer, our suburban and market-town locations and our focus on hospitality and community would ensure we emerged strongly – I believe these results have confirmed that to be the case.
“Clearly we don’t know what is around the corner – we anticipate further interruption to trade on either a local or regional basis in the short-term and have the balance sheet and liquidity to withstand significant further Covid impacts.
“Covid has, however, strengthened our belief in the potential scale of both brands in the longer-term and the behavioural shifts being witnessed further underline this.
“In the second half of the year we will cautiously re-start the roll-out and we are excited about the property opportunities available to us and getting back to opening 25 sites a year in due course.
“I would like to thank our team across the UK for their extraordinary contribution over the last six months.
“It has been an immensely challenging period and their determination and hard-work have allowed us to not just get through it, but to emerge a better business.”