Hawthorn Leisure, the New River-backed pubco, has reported a “solid” start to its post-lockdown trading.

Over 90% of its 700-strong estate has reopened since 4 July, with like-for-like sales down 15% in its leased and tenanted estate, and 13% in its managed portfolio year-on-year.

Compared to the wider market, which is seeing sales down 27% on July 2019 according to the Coffer Peach Business tracker, Hawthorn has highlighted it is trading “favourably.”

The business has attributed its comparatively successful rate of sales to the community and suburban locations of its pubs, as well as their wet-led nature and subsequent lower fixed costs.

It also invested in 86% of its portfolio during lockdown, improving outdoor space and customer safety measures.

Over 70% of its sites have outdoor space, and the business has said that many of these are already performing in line with pre-coronavirus levels.

The group added that the liquidity and alternative use value of pubs is evidenced by the fact that, since 1 April 2020, it has sold 13 pubs, generating £3.9 million in proceeds.

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