Jan 13, 2021
PizzaExpress reveals it fell to £350m loss even before pandemic
PizzaExpress has revealed that it fell to a £350m loss even before pandemic restrictions hit the business as it battled to meet interest payments and increasing overhead costs. PizzaExpress has enough liquidity to see it through 18 months of low dine-in sales and some regional lockdowns, its directors noted in the report. Restaurant owners have issued dire warnings about the prospects for the sector after figures published by the Office for National Statistics in December showed that hospitality businesses accounted for about a third of job losses in the UK since the start of the pandemic. Like many mid-market restaurant chains, PizzaExpress had been struggling before Covid-19 as oversupply in the market was compounded by changes in consumer dining habits and increasing overhead costs. Revenues for the year to the end of December 2019 increased 1.1 per cent to £548m, but squeezed margins meant that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 11 per cent to £71m, while interest charges of £92m helped push it to a pre-tax loss of £348m. In November, PizzaExpress agreed a financial restructuring with its senior bondholders to cut its £1.1bn net debt before £465m of secured bonds matured in August this year.
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