Brighton Pier Group has permanently closed three marginal sites from its bar division, previously known as Eclectic.

Smash in Wimbledon and PoNaNa in Bath were both disposed of, and a third lease for Fez in Cambridge expired in December 2020 was not renewed.

In half year results to December 2020, the Luke Johnson-chaired group reported revenue for the bars division was at 11% of the prior period at £0.7m (2019: £6.6 million).

With nearly all the bars estate closed throughout the period, these sales came from the two food-led operations, Lowlander in Covent Garden, which launched a takeaway and a ‘Supper Club’ offer, and ‘La Plage’ restaurant on the beach terrace of Coalition in Brighton.

The group now has nine bars, having at one stage operated 25.

Despite the challenges to trading, the group is reported a profit after highlighted items and before tax up 44% at £2.7m (2019: £1.8m), benefiting from the income from business interruption insurance, summer trading (especially at the pier and golf sites), government support by way of furlough, grants, rates and VAT reductions, as well as the one-off extinguishment of lease liabilities from the disposal of three bar sites.

Group profit before tax and highlighted items was down 59% at £0.8m (2019: £2m). This excludes the £1.9m of one-off gains arising from disposal of the bar sites.

Total group revenue for the period was down 53% at £8.2m (2019: £17.3m).

Anne Ackord, chief executive, said: “We look forward to the reopening of all of our businesses, following what has been a traumatic time for the whole industry. We are encouraged by our performance during the relatively short times when we have been permitted to operate and have full confidence that the group is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that the anticipated staycation boom will present, along with the expected pent-up retail spend.

“We are pleased to note that the combination of the strong summer trading in the Pier and Golf coupled with the receipt of interim business interruption payments have resulted in earnings before tax 44% ahead of the same period last year.”