Langton Capital – 2021-01-14 – Whitbread, Scotland, Pizza Express, TUI, G4M, Everyman etc.:
Whitbread, Scotland, Pizza Express, TUI, G4M, Everyman etc.:
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
You know it’s bad when your barber asks you if you have a big hat.
And when you cut your own hair and ask it of yourself, it might be worse. But I don’t know what I expected because, having cut our four lads’ hair, badly, for a decade or more in their youth, I still persuaded myself that an incremental 15yrs of inactivity was just what I needed to perfect my technique.
But, as they say, reality bites.
Any thoughts of layering my Barnet skilfully into my neck, cutting carefully around my ears and feathering what I’ve got left on top into some sort of Mr Whippy affair didn’t survive my early decision not to bother with a mirror and it all went downhill from there.
Specifically, the cutter guard fell off and I shaved a stripe down the middle of my head.
No going back at that point. You can’t glue it back on, I was told, gleefully, by the lads in a parody of me circa the Millennium when we clocked me hiding behind the sofa on Zoom later on and, as the dog had eaten much of the shorn hair as soon as it left my head, I wasn’t going to wait for it to pass through his digestive system to slap it on my head and try to prove them wrong.
Not in this world. Not whilst we’re in lockdown and there’s a perfectly good Dennis the Menace fancy dress wig festering in the loft. On to the news:
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IN TODAY’S PREMIUM EMAIL:
Here we consider the hot topics & hope to analyse as well as report.
WHITBREAD Q3 TRADING UPDATE:
Whitbread has updated on trading for its Q3 and our comments thereon are set out in the premium email. There is substantial read-across to the rest of the hospitality industry.
Our comments on expected 2021 trading will continue tomorrow.
PUBS & RESTAURANTS:
• The MA has reported that JD Wetherspoon has retracted posters from the windows of some of its pubs following its ‘lockdown-sceptic’ comments. Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville called for the removal of the posters commenting: ‘Totally inappropriate given the number of deaths we’re seeing locally and pressure on our health services’.
• The first minister in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced further Coronavirus restrictions around takeaway and click and collect. Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I know this is not a popular move, but it is intended to underline and support the fact that we should only be leaving home for essential purposes’.
• UK Hospitality has clarified that walk up takeaways, click and collect for food is still allowed, however, customers will be prevented from entering premises.
• The NPD has calculated that if the rest of the UK were to follow Scotland’s lead on further restrictions to the takeaway and click and collect industry, a further £300m would be wiped from the F&B sector. Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice), The NPD Group, said: ‘The impact of a Government imposed closure of click & collect takeaway meals would be devastating to the restaurant trade, especially the small independents that so many Brits frequent up and down the country’.
• The Local Data Company blogs that ‘the pandemic has had a significant impact on UK towns and cities, and this shows no signs of abating as we work through the reality of another prolonged period of lockdown.’ This is true and obvious.
• LDC says ‘one of the main trends we saw was significant regional differences with the West Midlands seeing the lowest reopening rate in England at 65.9% of units (at the end of August), compared to Greater London at 77.9%.’
• This became muddied as we faced ‘the constantly evolving tier system’ but it does seem as though city centres have been consistently more-heavily impacted by closures than have suburban locations.
• PizzaExpress has exited 23 extra UK locations, following the 74 sites already closed due to the group’s recent CVA.
• Lidl UK has seen sales increase 17.9% in the four weeks to Dec 27, making it the fastest growing retailer versus the big four, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
• The plant-based brand, This, has stated that it has sold more than £300k worth of product in the first week of January, due to increased Veganuary sales.
• Debenhams announces that six of its stores will not reopen, affecting 320 jobs. The firm is in administration under FRP Advisory, who are looking for a sale of all or parts of the business.
• Nightcap PLC, which was ‘established in 2020 to take advantage of the significant changes taking place within the premium bars segment and the hospitality industry more generally in the UK,’ listed on AIM yesterday having raised money at 10p per share. The company has purchased the London Cocktail Club, which it believes ‘to be a scalable model that is well-positioned to take advantage of the current opportunity in the hospitality segment of the UK property market for taking on attractively priced sites against a backdrop of decreased competition.’
• CEO Sarah Willingham says the admission to AIM ‘marks the start of Nightcap’s mission of becoming the UK’s leading bar group by supporting entrepreneurs and businesses that have taken such a hit during the pandemic.’ Ms Willingham says ‘hospitality currently faces the worst challenges in our lifetime but…when the restrictions are lifted, people will want to enjoy their freedom by having fun and coming out to socialise again.’
• The Food & Drink Federation has said that Brexit red tape is likely to increase food supply chain costs.
HOTELS & LEISURE TRAVEL:
• International travellers will need to provide proof of a negative pre-departure Covid test, with these measures likely lasting until at least until mid-March. This requirement is subject to a 28-day review, with the first review set to be in mid-February.
• VIP Ski has been rescued from administration after a start-up headed by its former boss paid £175,000 for the company. The firm has £6.8m in unsecured claims.
• OTA Hostelworld is looking to secure €30m as net bookings for 2020 were down by at least 80% on pre-Covid levels the previous year. The company had net cash at the end of last year of €18.2m with liabilities of €20.7m.
• Deutsche Bank, which has $340m outstanding loans to the Trump Organisation, has said it will not deal in the future with Donald Trump amid a growing corporate backlash against the President.
• Rules requiring international arrivals into the UK to have proof of a pre-departure negative Covid test have been delayed from Friday until Monday.
• Coach & other holiday operators have said that the commencement of vaccinations of older UK residents has led to a spike in holiday enquiries from those groups.
• TUI owned Marella Cruises has pushed back the earliest date for the recommencement of its operations in Europe until March 31.
• Gear4music, the UK largest online retailer of musical instruments has reported sales up 10% on last for the 3 months ended 31 December 2020. Gear4music’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Wass, commented: ‘I am pleased to report a very successful FY21 peak trading period, that continues to reflect the significant commercial and operational progress that we have made during the last two years’.
• Everyman Media Group has reported in a trading update that the group continues to concentrate ‘on reducing capital expenditure and operating costs to a minimum’, while sites are forced to close. Paul Wise, Executive Chairman of Everyman said: ‘We remain optimistic for the coming year post-lockdown and continue to have confidence in people’s appetite to socialise and to be entertained; we believe we will be in a strong position once it is safe to welcome back our customers and teams’.
• Feast It has raised £1.7m as it prepares for an events ‘boom’ post-pandemic. Digby Vollrath, co-founder of Feast It, commented ‘There was a big shift in people’s attitudes towards virtual events in the latter half of 2020’.
• 888 has updated on trading saying that it is ‘pleased to announce it continued to deliver a strong performance to the end of the year, with both revenue and active customer numbers in December representing all-time monthly records for the Group. As a result, the Board now expects the Group to report revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the Period moderately ahead of its prior expectations.’
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• The Bank of England’s MPC has suggested that the UK economy is now going through its “darkest hour.” Chancellor Sunak’s Budget, planned for 3 March, should at least begin to comment as to how the support measures introduced to date are to be paid for through increased taxes and reduced spending elsewhere.
• The UK’s major supermarkets have warned that “urgent intervention” is needed to allow food supplies through to Northern Ireland. They say that availability will worsen and prices rise unless something constructive is done soon.
• Honda’s Swindon plant is to close temporarily next week due to a shortage of semiconductors.
• ECB boss Christine Lagarde has warned governments against easing off on stimulus packages too soon.
• Sterling mixed, oil down, gilt rates down, marked mixed, London set to open up c21pts.
RETAIL WITH NICK BUBB:
• Today’s News: Today is “Super” Thursday, traditionally the best day to bury bad news, because of the sheer number of retailers reporting on Christmas trading at the same time, but today is not quite as busy as usual, for various reasons, and there is not much bad news to be had…with the exception of poor old Card Factory, which has flagged that it is “constructive” discussions with its banks, having seen profits wiped out by the lockdowns just before Christmas. Mighty Tesco, however, has claimed “market-leading” performance for its 8.1% LFL sales growth in the UK over the 6 weeks to Jan 9th (even though that looks only par for the course): profit guidance for the year is unchanged. Mighty Boohoo (our “Tip for 2021”) has, inevitably, delivered a strong update, with 40% sales growth over the last 4 months (including 40% UK growth) and has upgraded full-year guidance. We haven’t had time
TRADING STATEMENTS & EVENTS:
Upcoming results are set out below:
• 11 Jan 21 Carnival business update
• 12 Jan 21 Nichols FY trading update
• 12 Jan 21 Games Workshop H1 numbers
• 13 Jan 21 Just Eat Q4
• 13 Jan 21 Hostelworld trading update
• 13 Jan 21 Listing Nightcap (including London Cocktail Clubs)
• 13 Jan 21 William Hill FY trading update
• 14 Jan 21 Whitbread Q3 trading update
• 14 Jan 21 Tesco Q3
• 14 Jan 21 C&C EGM
• 15 Jan 21 Gym Group trading update
• 19 Jan 21 Premier Foods Q3 update
• 20 Jan 21 JD Wetherspoon H1 update
• 20 Jan 21 WH Smith AGM update
• 22 Jan 21 GfK Consumer Confidence numbers
• 26 Jan 21 DP Eurasia FY trading update
• 26 Jan 21 Starbucks Q1 update
• 27 Jan 21 Marston’s AGM (no update)
• 28 Jan 21 Britvic AGM
• 29 Jan 21 Hollywood Bowl AGM
• 4 Feb 21 Compass Group AGM
• 4 Feb 21 YUM Q4 & FY numbers
• 5 Feb 21 On the Beach AGM & trading update
• 11 Feb 21 Pepsi FY numbers
• 24 Feb 21 William Hill FY numbers
• 3 Mar 21 Nichols FY numbers
• 3 Mar 21 Government Budget Statement
• 11 Mar 21 Playtech FY numbers
• 16 Mar 21 Gregg’s FY numbers
• 24 Mar 21 M&B AGM
• 18 May 21 Britvic H1 numbers
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