Sunday, 24 October 2021

Pub firm loses £221k after covid closures

Pub firm loses £221k after covid closures

THE owner of a Henley pub operator and brewer has experienced a drop in turnover due to the coronavirus pandemic.

J T Davies & Sons, Brakspear's parent company, felt the impact of covid restrictions with turnover reported as £19.4m for the year ending December 27 last year, a decrease of 45 per cent compared to 2019.

All 125 pubs, restaurants and inns owned by the company were forced to close three times during the year, totalling four months in 2020. They also had to operate under trading restrictions while open.

Because of these forced closures the company reported a loss of £221k before tax for 2020, the first reported loss since JT Davies bought Brakspear in 2007. In comparison the profit before tax in 2019 was £6.38m, a decline of 103 per cent.

Turnover bounced back when pubs could open due to an excellent summer trading period and Government support including the job retention scheme, business rates discount, retail and hospitality grants and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The Crown in Nuffield and the Rose & Crown in New Street, Henley were sold during the year, but the company intends to reinvest the proceeds into future acquisitions.

Chief executive Tom Davies said: “While 2020 was a very unexpected year and we’re glad it’s behind us, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt.

“All our pubs closed for the first three and a half months of this year and operated under restrictions for a further three months. Sales bounced back when we were allowed to re-open in April and we were optimistic about the year ahead.

“During our peak trading summer months with all restrictions lifted, we were challenged with significant staff shortages and price rises, as well as supply chain and logistical issues, which are perhaps a consequence of Britain leaving the EU. We anticipate facing these challenges for many months to come.

“Our Government now seem determined to risk the hospitality industry’s recovery with an anti-immigration policy towards hospitality staff and others.

“My understanding of Brexit was that controlled immigration that supports our economic growth would remain. Current policy risks halting the UK’s recovery when VAT and business rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels. Taxes are rising with National Insurance and corporation tax leading the way whilst energy prices are at an all-time high.

“The Government expect us to increase productivity which is extremely difficult in our service-based people-led industry. Wage inflation will inevitably lead to price increases which will hit customers’ pockets.”

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