City Pub Group ‘encouraged’ with trading at 90% of pre-pandemic levels

City Pub Group has been “encouraged” by sales after reopening sites following the third national lockdown.

The firm, which operates across southern England and Wales, said it is trading at around 90% of pre-pandemic levels since reopening 42 pubs from April 12.

The group said six more have still not reopened following the delay to the final stage of the Government’s road map out of pandemic restrictions.

However, it said it is trading “profitably” and is looking forward to a boost from July 19, when restrictions are due to be lifted further.

Clive Watson, executive chair of City Pub Group
Clive Watson, executive chairman of City Pub Group (City Pub Group/PA)

City Pub Group said it has “significantly reduced” its cost base which has largely offset the impact of social distancing measures and a slump in larger bookings.

The firm told investors that restrictions have also stifled the potential benefit of the Euro 2020 football tournament as “many customers did not want to watch live sport at pubs because of the social distancing restrictions”.

Bosses highlighted its “very strong balance sheet”, with more than £16 million in unutilised banking facilities, while it is also starting to target more potential acquisitions.

It added that it has purchased the freehold of the Roundhouse pub in Wandsworth Common, south London, for £1.1 million, where it had four years remaining on its lease.

Clive Watson, executive chairman and founder of the business, said: “We have been very encouraged by how we have traded since reopening despite the continuing restrictions.

“We are cash-generative and trading profitably, demonstrating the strength of our business model.

“I would like to thank personally all our staff and suppliers for their ongoing commitment.

“We have put in place a strong platform for growth, and we believe that when we are allowed to trade restriction-free we will build to levels higher than 2019.”

Shares in City Pub Group were 1.1% lower at 126.1p after early trading.