City Pub Group has posted 2020 losses of £6.5m as its estate was heavily impacted by lengthy closure periods.

The 45-strong group saw revenue fall 57% to £25.8m during the year (2019: £60.0 million).

During lockdown, the Clive Watson-chaired company made significant investment in its pubs to optimise them for outdoor trading, and take advantage of the “strong pent-up demand and expected boom in staycations”.

Improvements were made to the City Club app, which now has over 100,000 active members

The company has had an encouraging start since outdoor reopening, with the 24 pubs currently open and trading at 77% of 2019 levels.

All 45 sites are on track to reopen on 17 May, with “significant number” of bookings taken.

The company said it has a strong liquidity and asset backed balance sheet, putting it in a strong position to grow the estate once conditions normalise, and a platform to expand the estate to over 100 sites.

Clive Watson, executive chairman of The City Pub Group, said: “The business has been significantly improved over the past year placing us in an excellent position to take advantage of the pent-up demand as the country reopens.

“The early signs since we have been allowed to trade outdoors have been very heartening and it has been great to bring back our immensely talented staff and to see our customers enjoying our pubs once again.

“We are a streamlined, well-invested business with a first-rate customer offer. Our pub estate is unique in terms of quality and, with the step change in the business, we have an ideal platform to grow successfully in the future.”