Langton Capital – 2021-02-25 – Sentiment, reopening, takeaway food, tenant support, holidays etc.:
Sentiment, reopening, takeaway food, tenant support, holidays etc.:
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
It’s interesting how some people fill their time, isn’t it?
I got a text yesterday from a mobile number I didn’t recognise telling me that a parcel had been held up in the Royal Mail because of unpaid Duty totalling £2.70.
A few thoughts jumbled for attention.
Bloomin’ Brexit toward the fore, but then scepticism took over as surely the Royal Mail wouldn’t text from an 07 mobile number and who would include the mobile number of a package’s recipient, even assuming that they knew it, on the parcel’s wrapping?
Still, the link was to a www.royalmail.com page.
However, when clicked, it went to a www.royaimaii.com site which, to anyone unduly long-sighted, could look similar enough to the real thing to quell suspicions.
But, at that point, the game was up as it was clearly a scam.
I hadn’t been the first to spot the fake as the page was blocked but it did make me wonder why someone with the wherewithal to follow the news, know that Customs Duty was being regularly demanded on the doorstep and the nous to build a website (that would presumably then harvest your bank or credit card details), didn’t get a proper job or work for a charity or do something useful or, if none of the above, at least have the decency to throw themselves off a bridge.
Anyway, be warned. There are crooks amongst us and, with that in mind, let’s move on to the news:
ADVERTISE WITH US:
Langton’s free email now carries adverts. See front page of website for today’s copy & contact us for further details.
CHANGED EMAIL FORMAT:
The Premium Email is unchanged. The Free Email is now written and pre-sent the evening before. It should include much of the news but not any breaking stories from the morning that it is sent such as company releases, nor Langton comment. See Twitter for in-day comment.
Ping us for an example of the Premium & for prices (£295 for one, £495 for multiple, both plus VAT). Or sign up for easy in, easy out month option:
PUBS & RESTAURANTS:
CGA Fourth Business Leaders’ Hospitality Sentiment survey:
• CGA says that optimism is up a bit in Feb compared with Q4 last year when it previously took the industry’s temperature. Some 50% are confident in the industry and 54% are confident in their own businesses.
• There has been a big jump in those seeing a road through to a future in which they would be ‘viable’. The number saying ‘yes’ was up to 67% from only 20% in Q4.
• Langton Comment: See Premium Email.
The roadmap to reopening:
• A continued mix of optimism and disappointment sprinkled with pleas for Budget help next week and calls for more clarity.
• Dr Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce says ‘it is helpful that many businesses across England can now see a path to restart and recovery. Absolute clarity and honesty will be needed every step of the way over the weeks ahead, so that businesses have a fighting chance to rebuild. The stop-start dynamic of the past year, which has so damaged businesses and communities, must come to an end.’
• The BCC says ‘even with the Prime Minister’s new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread.’
• The Food and Drink Federation says ‘it is disappointing but wholly expected that the Prime Minister’s roadmap shows no signs of taking account of any input from business. For a great many of the food and drink manufacturers supplying the hospitality and food service sectors, a return to ‘business as usual’ seems an awful long way off.’
• Journal Caterer.com says ‘despite their rigour and focus in implementing successful Covid-secure protocols, it is frustrating to see that restaurants and bars will be slow to fully reopen compared to other businesses.’ It says ‘studies have shown that with the right systems in place, hospitality businesses have extremely low transmission rates. The sector is raring to go, leading the way for trading responsibly and introducing procedures which ensure the safety of staff and customers.’
• Pavement licenses.
• Westminster Council tweets ‘our temporary al fresco scheme will return to Westminster from April 12 when outdoor hospitality reopens, running until the end of September.’ It says ‘businesses with a pavement licence will need to reapply as current licences will expire on April 30.’
• This at least has had a warm welcome. UKH’s Kate Nicholls tweets ‘hope that all councils will take a positive approach to outdoor seating and use from 12 April and adopt a light touch approach to licensing and grant maximum length to September.’
• Charlie Gilkes of Inception Group says ‘excellent to see this from @CityWestminster.’ He adds ‘thank you for being so quick to adapt.’
• Young & Co tweets that it is open for outside bookings. Last year, it’s worth remembering, April saw good weather. However, it is one of the year’s most varied months as far as the weather is concerned and a warm and welcoming outside environment can’t be guaranteed. Young’s says ‘wave goodbye to Zoom quizzes, turn off Netflix and join us as we raise a glass to being back together.’
Other Covid news:
• Foodservice Equipment Reports in the US says that the pandemic will permanently change the way that some operators do business. This isn’t new news, as such, as it has appeared for some time that the Covid-19 situation has accelerated many trends already in place.
• FER says Taco Bell is ‘testing the waters on new concepts to better accommodate to-go service.’ Many other restaurants are doing the same thing. More drive throughs are being planned. FER says ‘Cheesecake Factory, too, thinks off-premise dining will remain important post-pandemic, in part due to a new clientele.’
• A survey across tenants of 19 pub companies undertaken by KAM Media has suggested that the majority are pleased with the support they have received from their pub companies during the Covid-19 crisis. The survey finds ‘a strong 8 out of 10 for their Covid-related support so far, with 53% of licensees rating the support they had received over the last 12 months as ‘outstanding.’’
• KAM MD Katy Moses says ‘given the year the industry has had, it is even more critical than ever that pub companies stay close to their licensees in order to evaluate their performance and ensure their offer for their tenants remains competitive. It is really uplifting to hear that the vast majority are more than satisfied with the support they have received and is testament to the British pub industry as a whole. We are delighted to be working with the country’s biggest pub companies and family brewers to provide robust and independent data on their performance to ensure they stay ahead of the game.’
• KAM stresses ‘whilst it is great news that licensees feel supported by their pub companies, there is absolutely no doubt that significant and further government support is urgently needed. This should be for all pubs at the same level that was given in the initial lockdown, no matter their size or rateable value. We need furlough to continue and a promise that pubs will not face a business rates bill this year.’
Company & other news:
• Peroni Libera 0.0% is to partner with Aston Martin as the latter returns to Formula One racing after an absence of 61yrs. Brand owner Asahi says ‘the partnership is in line with parent company, Asahi Europe & International’s responsible drinking ambition to have 20% share of their portfolio dedicated to non-alcoholic products by 2030.’ It says ‘this partnership will widen the awareness of Peroni Libera 0.0% to ensure it remains the number one choice for those seeking an aspirational non-alcoholic option as part of their balanced lifestyle.’
• Dutch cultured meat company Mosa Meat is reported to have raised a further $10m in funding. The company has raised a total of $85m in its current round after raising $75m last year. Mosa Meat says it will use the funds to expand its production facility in Maastricht.
HOTELS & LEISURE TRAVEL:
• Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that it is “too early to book” overseas holidays, even if operators are offering cash backs if holidays need to be cancelled. Ms Patel says ‘there are too many factors to consider before we can even speculate in a binary way, yes or no, if people should be travelling.’
• Nonetheless, there are more signs of strong bookings (albeit over short periods of time). Travel Weekly reports Midcounties Co-operative’s retail travel division as saying it had seen a ‘surge’ in bookings with traffic to its website up 130% on the same day the previous week. Travelzoo says that it has seen a spike in traffic with bed bank Stuba also reporting increased demand.
• Certainly it was another strong day for travel stocks on the market. Early news of Heathrow’s dreadful 2020 could not stop investors from looking to the future. Jet2 shares were up 6%, Hostelworld was up 8%, Saga and Carnival were both 22% higher and TUI’s shares finished the day up 12%.
• Just what degree of risk are holiday-bookers taking?
• The taskforce that has been created will report by 12 April with the earliest flight-inclusive holidays possible by 17 May. This would allow half-term holidays – but the latter date is the earliest possible and it might slip. Most operators are offering cash backs.
• Government docs say ‘the government will continue to protect against the risk posed by imported variants.’ It is understandably building in wiggle room if the dates slip. PM Johnson says that the taskforce will report to him and he will decide whether or not to go ahead with reopening based on ‘the global and domestic epidemiological picture, the prevalence and location of ‘variants of concern’, the progress of vaccine rollouts here and abroad, and what more the government has learnt about the efficacy of vaccines.’
• Travel Weekly reports that ‘Greece could reopen its borders to British tourists who can prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as early as May’ citing The Times. According to the paper, Greece is exploring what certification might be required, alongside the necessary logistics.
• Staycations should be popular this year. Clearly they and overseas holidays are in competition with each other and, much as many holidaymakers would like to go abroad, if they do so, they will be spending money overseas that could have been used to help UK hospitality businesses.
• Heathrow yesterday reported that passenger numbers fell by around three-quarters last year. It did more business in January and February than it did in the other ten months of 2020 combined.
• Three-ship cruise line Azamara, which was recently sold by RCL to Sycamore Partners, has extended its suspension of sailings to 30 June. The operator says ‘in order to ensure the most effective initiatives are in place for a healthy return to service, Azamara has taken the decision to extend the suspension of global operations for all sailings departing on or before June 30, 2021.’
• Accor yesterday reported a €1.99 billion net loss for 2020, compared to a net profit of €464 million in the prior year. The company says ‘we saw signs of significant recovery in all regions in the third quarter, with a strong summer season in Europe, after the low point seen in the second quarter.’ It adds, however, that ‘the new restrictions implemented by European governments in response to the resurgence of the epidemic in the last quarter halted the summer recovery.’
• Accor says its hotels in the UK were affected by longer lockdowns than those in the rest of Europe as the resurgence of the virus was “more virulent”.
• Norwegian Cruise Line has told Travel Weekly that it is seeing strong bookings for Q4 onwards and trends including longer durations, extended family group bookings and customers upgrading to higher grades of accommodation.
• Reddit has taken its Series E fund raise up to $367m, saying that the investment comes from ‘new and existing investors’.
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• See Premium Email.
RETAIL WITH NICK BUBB:
• See Premium Email.
TRADING STATEMENTS & EVENTS:
Upcoming results are set out below:
• 22 Feb 21 Royal Caribbean Q4 & FY numbers
• 23 Feb 21 Intercontinental Hotels FY numbers
• 24 Feb 21 Accor FY numbers
• 25 Feb 21 Shake Shack Q4 & full year
• 25 Feb 21 Beyond Meat FY numbers
• 25 Feb 21 Airbnb FY numbers
• 25 Feb 21 AB InBev FY numbers
• 25 Feb 21 ABF full year update
• Est 28 Feb 21 – Various Eateries FY numbers
• 2 Mar 21 PPHE FY results
• 3 Mar 21 Nichols FY numbers
• 3 Mar 21 Government Budget Statement
• 4 Mar 21 William Hill FY numbers
• 11 Mar 21 Playtech FY numbers
• 11 Mar 21 Morrison’s FY numbers
• 15 Mar 21 Carlsberg AGM
• 16 Mar 21 Gregg’s FY numbers
• 17 Mar 21 Hostelworld H1 numbers
• 18 Mar 21 Fever Tree FY numbers
• 23 Mar 21 DP Eurasia FY numbers
• 24 Mar 21 M&B AGM
• 25 Mar 21 Compass Group H1 update
• 30 Mar 21 AG Barr FY numbers
• 8 Apr 21 Sportech FY numbers
• 28 Apr 21 Carlsberg Q1 numbers
• 4 May 21 Campari Q1 numbers
• 7 May 21 Intercontinental Hotels Q1 numbers
• 12 May 21 Compass Group H1 numbers
• 12 May 21 Stock Spirits H1 numbers
• 18 May 21 Britvic H1 numbers
• Est 19 May 21 Marston’s H1 numbers
• 27 Jul 21 Campari H1 numbers
• 10 Aug 21 Intercontinental Hotels H1 numbers
• 18 Aug 21 Carlsberg H1 numbers
• 22 Oct 21 Intercontinental Hotels Q3 numbers
• 26 Oct 21 Campari Q3 numbers
LANGTON CAPITAL: Made in Hull. Like all the best things. Langton Capital is a financial advisory company providing insightful views on the UK and global leisure industry and the wider consumer sector in general. Subscription to the daily email is free. Unsubscribing is painless. We provide daily off the shelf and bespoke research. We have helped with transactions, fund-raisings, disposals and other corporate issues. We have a good ear, we are impartial, independent and not half bad at what we do. If you think that we could help you or your business, drop us a line.