Brighton Pier Group has announced its interim results for the six months ended 25 June 2023, with total revenue at £16.2m.

Revenue was down compared to 2022’s £17.3m, due to a challenging second quarter, as previously reported by the group.

The majority of sales decline was from the Bars division, which faced tough comparable numbers following exceptionally strong trading from a post-pandemic surge in the first half of 2022, according to the update.

Brighton Palace Pier’s sales performance was up 2% vs 2022, albeit the bars division saw sales down across the estate.

The Golf division saw lower footfall across the estate in June, but with the exception of June, trading has been consistent. The division generated £1.4m of EBITDA.

Group EBITDA was £1.4m compared to £3m in 2022, and loss before tax was -£1m, compared to a profit of £0.7m the year before.

Inflationary pressures have had a significant impact on operating margins, resulting in lower earnings than the previous year.

As reported in the 25 July 2023 trading update, the weekend train strikes, exacerbated by exceptionally poor weather in July and August, and the temporary restriction of access following a fire at a major hotel opposite the entrance to the Pier towards the end of July, resulted in sales and earnings being lower than expected.

These factors continued to affect trading in the 12 weeks to 17 September 2023, with weaker than expected summer trading, resulting in total sales of £12.3m vs £12.6m the previous year.

The Board expects operating profit to be below current expectations for the current financial year, and maintains a “cautious” outlook in the short-to-medium term.

CEO Anne Ackord commented: “As highlighted in our last trading update, the Group is navigating a challenging environment, with persistent high inflation and cautious spending by consumers negatively impacting trading. When combined with the ongoing cost pressures, this has resulted in the Group recording lower than expected sales and earnings in the first half of 2023.

“Trading in the 12 weeks to 17 September 2023 has been further impacted by events outside of our control. The regular weekend train strikes in particular have reduced visitor numbers on the Pier by 18% versus comparable weeks in 2022. Combined with the unseasonably wet weather and the hotel fire that disrupted sales on the Pier for the final two weeks of July (two of the top ten trading weeks of the year), trading has been unusually difficult.

“The Group continues to be cash generative and has a robust balance sheet, making it well placed to weather the macroeconomic challenges and execute its longer-term growth strategy.

”I believe as a result there is significant upside opportunity for the Group in a more typical year”.