Loungers: ‘165 sites trading from August, only two will permanently close’

Nick Collins, CEO

Loungers plans to have its entire estate back open and trading by 5 August – with only two sites shutting permanently for strategic reasons.

The chain has so far reopened 75 Lounges and 19 Cosy Clubs following the relaxation of the government-imposed closure period due to Covid-19.

As a result of the confidence it has gained from the trading at its reopened sites to date, it has decided to accelerate its reopening programme and will have 165 restaurants operating from the first week of August.

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The company said it would not reopen Banco Lounge in Bristol and Allegro Lounge in Birmingham, however.

Banco Lounge is one of its earliest sites and a combination of its small size and the additional costs of doing business mean that it no longer meets its returns criteria. Its lease expires in March 2021 and will not be renewed.

It said Allegro Lounge hasn’t performed as it had expected since opening in two years ago in the Northfield suburb. While it is willing to give each site time to mature, it said the location had proven to be the wrong one for a Lounge.

It added that it is not considering any other sites for closure.

Nick Collins, chief executive of Loungers, commented: “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.

“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.”

Mr Collins said Loungers plans to participate in the government’s ‘Eat out to help out’ campaign and “welcomed” the crucial support the sector has received in the form of the VAT reduction – which he said applies to 65% of its sales – and the Job Retention Scheme Bonus.

Loungers tests impact of smaller menus on kitchens and says it is keen to resume roll-out programme

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Andrew Seymour

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