Nightcap has reported revenue of £23.5m for the 26-week period ended 1 January 2023 (H1 FY23), citing “strong trading results despite significant rail strike disruptions”.

The Barrio, Adventure Bar Group, and Cocktail Club operator reported revenue was up 48.7% from £15.8m in the comparative period, the 26 weeks ended 26 December 2021.

Like-for-like (lfl) revenue grew 4.7% in Q2 FY23 against Q2 FY22, and 10.1% in H1 FY23 against the equivalent period in FY19. However, the operator saw a 5.8% lfl decrease against H1 FY22, “largely due to the ongoing rail strikes.”

The management estimates 13 rail strike days over the period have cost the company approximately £1.2m in EBITDA, which increased 25% to £2m.

The group operated 30 bars through the half-year period, which saw the opening of six sites to bring the total up to 36 – two The Cocktail Club venues, two Tonight Josephine venues, and two Barrio bars.

The festive trading period exceeded expectations, with record corporate Christmas parties, pre-sold events, and New Year’s Eve almost entirely sold out across bars.

Cash generated from operators increased 273% to £4.1m as the business focused on maximising returns.

As at 1 January 2023, the group’s net debt was £4.1m with £0.75m of total bank debt scheduled for repayment during FY23.

While Nightcap is conscious of the impact of further rail strikes, it states trading has remained resilient and the outlook is “encouraging.”

“Management continues to see extremely attractive opportunities within the property market and look forward to the ongoing roll-out of all of its key brands.

13 new sites have traded on average just over six months at the end of the period, with an early trading and maturity profile that puts them on track to deliver the Group’s target of 75% annual return on investment (ROI) on total capital invested in new bars in their third year of operation. Several sites are on track to beat the 75% ROI target in their first year of operation.”

CEO Sarah Willingham commented: “Nightcap has had a fantastic half year. Our incredible team opened six bars in six weeks across the country, whilst also delivering a Christmas that exceeded expectations and records in terms of corporate parties, pre-sold events and a nearly sold out New Year’s Eve across all 36 sites. This was followed by a significant business integration and streamlining process, resulting in expected Group savings of £1.4 million annually, whilst preserving the much loved individual identities of our brands. The new sites have opened well with trading continuing to build week-on-week all the way through to the end of February 2023.

“Whilst rapidly building the leading premium bar group in the UK in a very attractive market for property deals, we continue our focus on strong cost controls, proven by our impressive cash generation of £4.1 million from operations during the period thanks to the unwavering dedication of our talented and highly motivated team.

“We look forward to the second half of the year with confidence and once again we thank our customers for coming to our sites and enjoying themselves with friends in a fun, relaxed party atmosphere and leaving knowing they have had a night to remember.”