North west-based pubco Robinsons has rolled out a multi-million-pound investment across its estate to repair, redecorate and implement Covid-safe measures.

The company, which operates around 240 tenanted and 20 managed pubs, said the £4m spend included 20 “significant refurbishments”.

Managing director William Robinson told MCA that the investment was possible because the company was in a cash positive position before the pandemic. “With this and the strength of our balance sheet, we have been able to invest in the difficult times for the long-term,” he said.

The refits also include enhanced outdoor areas, as the pubco expects customers to continue to make more use of beer gardens. And as the 21 June date for lifting Covid-related restrictions approaches, Robinson called for the government to stick to its road map.

“Investment, licensee support and training have been key drivers over the last year in particular,” Robinson said. “We have invested a large amount of capital expenditure and completed just over 20 pub refurbishments.

“As a result, our pubs have traded well when the weather has permitted, with infection rates at very low levels and on the back of the success of the vaccination programme, the government must permit a full relaxation of restrictions from 21 June. We fully expect that outdoor areas will remain very popular.”

Robinson said that until restrictions are lifted, trading would remain “challenging”.

“We have a package of support in place which we are using to support our tenanted licensees,” he added.

Robinson also said the pubco is acquisitive and “looking for great opportunities with which to enhance our pub estate”, though he had no further details at this stage.