Peach has released its 2019 results and offered an update on current trading.

Founder Hamish Stoddart said in 2019, the business was “flat like-for-like at £27m, whilst operating profit before exceptional items was £423k for 2019, down from £671k in 2018. The decrease is a disappointment reflecting the growing cost pressure on hospitality businesses in general between 2017 and 2019.”

In 2020, Peach refinanced the business, selling four freeholds for ground rent leases and removing most of its debt. It opened a new pub in Maidenhead with a £750,000 refurbishment which closed after one day alongside all UK pubs on 20 March.

During lockdown Peach paid all its creditors and landlords. During July it was able to recover some of the losses it sustained from March to June, August like for likes are up and September has also been “profitable”.

“Peach is in as good a place as any hospitality business,” said Stoddart. “Work From Home is a positive for our pubs, as are staycations and fewer people taking foreign holidays. Our late night bar trade is not huge; our guest base is still coming out to eat but is missing the bar. We have a shorter menu and more specials. Spend per head is up by 20%. We retained our whole team except for a few individuals which we sadly made redundant in July. The whole experience allowed us to review and improve how we work and tighten costs.

“In the re-start, we focused on delivering both hospitality and complete Covid-19 safety by following the guidance with rigour. We are trading well ahead of Coffer numbers. We aren’t releasing exact numbers. We believe we will end up post Covid-19 next summer with increased covers and spend per head.

“Winter today looks pretty scary for all hospitality businesses and for Peach too. Since the 10pm curfew and the weather turning, we have dropped 15% on our like-for-like performance in September. We will be close to break even over the winter period to April 2021 as long there aren’t more Covid-19 regulations that scare our guest base or stop us trading.

“10pm curfew is just hurting all pubs and bars without any evidence of being beneficial to reducing Covid-19 transmission. Christmas will a huge drop on previous years. A second national lockdown would be hugely costly and we presume supported in some form by the government. We are comfortable we have enough funding and free cash in place to survive most eventualities through working with our team and all our suppliers.”