Staffing Shortages Blunt The Oakman Group Results

The Oakman Group Plc has ended its financial year 2021/22, with between 2 and 3% loss of growth as a result of restricted trading due to staff shortages.

The group has revealed results:
• Total Group sales for 21/22 were £65.1
• Total sales vs 2020/21 +79.0%
• LFL sales vs 20/21 + 51.2%
• Total sales vs 2018/19 + 55.4%
• LFL sales vs 18/19 + 19.9%

Executive Chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, commented:
“Understanding trading numbers at present is made challenging by the extraordinary Covid related difficulties our sector has faced over the past two and a half years. In addition, the changes in the VAT rate further confuse the picture.

“However, whichever way you look at the comparisons, these results represent an excellent performance. Certainly, Oakman has consistently outperformed the Coffer CGA tracker of industry sales.”

“The comparisons with 2018/19 are skewed by the benefit of the VAT concessions during 2021/22. However, recent trading demonstrates that healthy underlying growth has continued throughout the year.”

• Total Group sales for June (five weeks to the 3rd of July) were £7.1m
• Total sales vs 2018/19 +48.9%
• LFL sales vs 18/19 +11%

Borg-Neal added:
“As with the rest of our sector, we were hit hard by Christmas cancellations, and sales remained soft through to the Spring. Recent weeks have been much better and, although the Jubilee week was not as strong as we had hoped for, we have enjoyed buoyant sales over the rest of June.
“These numbers would have been even better but for the continued challenges regarding staffing. Exact calculations are difficult, but we estimate that, as a consequence of having to restrict trading at various times, we have lost around a further 2-3% of growth.”

Oakman has continued to add and develop new sites. The three major openings – The Rose, Wokingham, The Grand Junction Arms, Bulbourne and The Grand Junction, Buckingham – have all performed ahead of their investment targets. Oakman has recently acquired The Hesketh Arms in Rufford, Lancashire and are currently on-site with The Beech House in Watford which will open in September.

Oakman acquired six pubs and the intellectual property of The Seafood Pub Company in early 2021. Since then, four sites have been added under the leadership of Joycelyn Neve and further additions will occur over the next twelve months.

Borg-Neal commented:
“Following the end of lockdown and Covid restrictions, staff shortages and the impact of inflation have become the biggest challenges we face as a management team. I believe our CEO Dermot King and his team have done an excellent job, in the circumstances, and we are well placed to make further progress in the year ahead.

“It is clear, that the runaway inflation will have an impact on profit and there is a high degree of uncertainty driven by the wider geo-political issues such as the war in Ukraine.
Accordingly, we have had to slow our opening program down as we have become a little more cautious. However, I am delighted with the performance of the three we have opened and am very optimistic regarding the prospects of our new site in Watford. Furthermore, we have an excellent pipeline ready to be developed as funding, and our confidence levels, allows.”

Statutory Accounts 2020/21

The Oakman Group Plc has filed their full year accounts for financial year ending the 4th of July 2021.

The key highlights:
• Net sales £32.4m
• +£2.5m vs 2019/20
• EBITDA £3.6m
• +£6.2m vs 2019/20 (loss of £2.6m)

The Oakman Group Plc’s CEO, Dermot King, commented:
“Overall, the year was very much defined by continued uncertainties caused by Government restrictions on our ability to trade at various times due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although all sites reopened on 4th July 2020, trading became subsequently restricted including “rule of six”, “substantial meal rules”, “10pm closing rules”, outdoor only trading rules and a second national lockdown in November – followed by a third that lasted from mid-December to April 2021.

“The programme of Government support, through various job retention schemes, rates forgiveness, a temporary VAT reduction on food and overnight stays and 13 days of Eat Out to Help Out cushioned some of the disruption caused. Surviving the impact of the national lockdown was the key focus of the management team entering this financial year. As well as raising additional capital we focussed attention on re-energising our people and ensuring we were able to take advantage of new opportunities in an ever-changing environment.”