Caffè Nero has reported a sharp increase in sales over the past 13 weeks to close its financial year (31 May, 2021).

The business said it has been cashflow positive each month for the past six months and has seen a significant sales uplift over the past 13 weeks in particular.

In addition, the company reported that it has repaid a £12.2m liquidity facility loan which was extended a year ago by its banking syndicate, meaning it has now repaid all bank loans borrowed during the Covid crisis.

The release of its accounts follows speculation in the press over the weekend that the company risked falling under the control of Leon owners the Issa brothers if it failed to filed its accounts by the Monday deadline and defaulted on its loans.

Caffe Nero said weekly sales during this period (March-May 2021) grew by 82% as first outdoor seating was allowed and then restricted eat in was permitted.

For the upcoming 12 months, the company reported that it is forecast to meet all of its banking covenants.

Current trading, according to the company is ahead of forecasts at 70-80% of 2019 levels.

Caffè Nero also announced the success of its new delivery and digital channels which have provided an additional revenue source over the past year.

Sales from these new areas over the past 12 months have an annualised run rate of around £16m as it is now listed on UberEats and its coffee products have recently been listed on Amazon as well as with Sainsbury’s.

The company expects revenue from these new channels to double across the group in the upcoming financial year.

Caffè Nero also reported its annual statutory figures for the financial year ending May 2020 (FY20).

Its UK business traded strongly for the first three quarters of the FY20 financial year with positive LFL sales of 2.3%, before experiencing a highly disruptive fourth quarter (March, April, May 2020) when all its stores were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, UK sales reduced from £292.6m to £239.7m, a reduction of 22%.

UK EBITDA was £17.6m in the year and there was a pre-tax loss of -£6.0m (before IFRS 16 lease adjustments).

Gerry Ford, founder and group CEO, Caffè Nero commented: “Sales are picking up and the last quarter has given us a lot of positive momentum. Covid-19, with its government enforced closures and restrictions, made for a challenging 14 months. But we are gaining strength each week. Prior to the pandemic we were trading strongly and had a fantastic track record. We are starting to see that same trading pattern return. Caffè Nero has been cashflow positive for six months despite restrictions and I anticipate the next six months we will move ahead sharply again.”