Youngs Experience “Toughest Times” In 189 Years

London-based pub retailer Young’s has revealed a turnover of £51.1m in the 26 weeks ended 28 September, less than one-third of £168.2m turnover for the same period the year before, and reported losses of £21.8m compared to a profit of £24.3m the year before.

However, Young’s said the appetite to visit its pubs is “huge”, with pent up demand for cancelled weddings and parties.

The firm reached 80 per cent of normal trade when pubs reopened in July, despite coronavirus restrictions.

Patrick Dardis chief executive of Young’s, said: “Our business recently celebrated 189 years and the last six months has been one of the toughest periods in that incredible journey. The resilience of our customers has truly amazed us. The cautious approach we adopted and the safe environment we provided were key reasons why our customers flocked back in large numbers. The continued efforts of our pub staff to go above and beyond in protecting our customers in these challenging conditions is a testament to our wonderful people.

As a business we benefitted from the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ campaign throughout August, which boosted midweek footfall with diners attracted by the headline 50% discount. We also made use of the government’s much welcomed furlough scheme which enabled us to protect the jobs of nearly 5,000 employees. Despite the challenges presented to us, our rural pubs and hotels, particularly those in the South West and in coastal regions, have delivered like-for-like growth against last year benefitting from the staycations and weekend visitors. These tougher times have also demonstrated our strength in controlling our cost base in a very efficient manner.”

He added: “Since the period end and prior to the latest lockdown, trading had been encouraging, with the business achieving 73% of last year’s sales, despite additional government restrictions and introduction of Tier two status for London which affected 80% of our managed estate. Following the latest national lockdown introduced last week, all our pubs closed on 5 November. Whilst we were hoping that a further lockdown could have been avoided, the second lockdown with the financial support available from the government will be considerably less damaging to our business than the potential move to Tier three.