Loungers PLC (LON:LGRS) said it is accelerating its reopening programme following closure during the lockdown after it said it has been “very encouraged” by the reception from its customers and teams.
The bars group said it has already reopened 75 Lounges and 19 Cosy Clubs from a total estate of 138 and 29 respectively, and that measures put in place to ensure safety have been “well-received” and not prevented them from delivering services.
As a result, the company said it has decided to speed up its reopening programme and now plans to have its entire estate open again by August 5.
Loungers also said its has decided not to reopen two of its sites, the Banco Lounge in Bristol which will not be renewing its lease when it expires next March, and the Allegro Lounge in Northfield which has already been closed as it had not performed as the firm had hoped since opening in 2018.
Therefore, the company said from August 5 it will be operating 165 sites, adding that it is also planning to participate in the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, which offers diners discounts of food and non-alcoholic drinks, and welcomed the recent VAT cut to support the hospitality sector.
"It remains our view that Loungers is well placed coming out of lockdown and we are optimistic with regards to future trading and the continued planned growth of both our Lounge and Cosy Club brands”, said Loungers chief executive Nick Collins.
"Whilst in the short term our roll out programme will be considerably more conservative, we are excited to be opening our 30th Cosy Club in Brindley Place, Birmingham on 10 August.
We welcome the further sector support announced by the government last week which is timely and will assist us in re-building momentum over the weeks and months ahead", he added.
In a note on Thursday, analysts at Liberum retained their ‘buy’ rating and 200p target price on the group, saying Loungers was “strategically well placed to thrive again given its all-day community offer across suburban locations”.
“We expect Loungers to continue its consistent outperformance of the market seen pre [coronavirus]. This outperformance will be accentuated by its predominantly suburban locations with no exposure to central London or major travel hubs. Its suburban locations in regional towns and local centres will benefit from the desire for customers to stay local and the increase in working from home”, the broker said.
Shares in Loungers rose 0.9% to 116p in mid-morning deals on Thursday.
--Adds broker comment and updates share price--