Office group IWG buoyed by returning workers before second lockdown

Office giant IWG has said it was buoyed by a gradual return of office workers ahead of the UK’s latest enforced lockdown.

It saw shares rise as it also told investors that it stands to benefit from a shift towards flexible working following the pandemic.

The update came as the group, whose brands include Regus, said sales for the quarter to September 30 fell by 14.3% to £583.3 million.

In a statement, the company said: “The impact of the pandemic has been greater than we imagined, and we remain in the eye of this global crisis.

“Throughout this period our platform has been resilient, and we have benefitted from the comprehensive actions taken to reduce costs and improve cash flow and liquidity.”

IWG said it saw “good” sales activity in July, August and September but said this was offset by customers churn and the impact of the pandemic on service revenue.

In the third quarter, revenues across the group’s currently open centres decreased by 5.5%.

The company is among office owners to have been impacted by the Government’s guidance in March for people to work from home.

Despite a shift in message encouraging people to return to offices in the summer, the Government has recently reiterated its desire for people to work from home where possible following resurgent case numbers.

IWG said it expects to have spent around £100 million to support struggling customers by the end of 2020.

It added that it has made “good progress” in its significant cost-cutting plans aimed at improving profitability by next year.

Shares in the company moved 7.8% higher to 274.8p after early trading.