Loungers Reports Strong Sales but Staffing ‘Remains Tough’

Cafe bar operator Loungers has reported it had “continued to consistently outperform the sector”, with like-for-like sales growth of 23.4% across the 28 weeks to 28 November. Loungers reported revenue increased 91.4% to £102.4m for the 24 weeks to 3 October 2021, “reflecting the very successful resumption of trading from 17 May”

During this time, the group saw like-for-like sales growth of 26.6% compared to 2019 and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £27.1m, up 105.1%, driven by strong sales and margin growth. The group also saw a pre-tax profit of £12.8m.

The company stated: “Whilst mindful of the news of the Omicron variant, we are optimistic looking ahead to trading over the Christmas period and beyond. The Lounge business is very balanced seasonally, while Christmas trading is more important for Cosy Club and we are encouraged by the level of bookings. We anticipate 25 new site openings during the financial year ending 17 April 2022 and have the infrastructure in place to accelerate that pace as circumstances permit.”

However, it also said that recruitment and retention within the sector “remains tough” and added: “as a large employer it is critical that we address this, in terms of both understanding where we can be better, alongside promoting what we are very good at”.

Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, said: “Our value for money, all-day offer appeals to a very broad demographic, and this underpins our market-leading performance in towns and suburbs across England and Wales. We will open 25 sites this year as we continue to benefit from the changing dynamics of the high street and our pipeline of new sites has never looked so strong. Our sustained growth alongside our operational discipline are enabling us to manage and mitigate most inflationary pressure.

“As we move into the Christmas trading period any potential impact of Omicron remains to be seen, but as we look ahead to 2022, I am very optimistic with regards to our prospects and the continuing roll-out of both Lounge and Cosy Club.”