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Newswire - 16 June

16 June 2020Newswire Topics: Development & Alternative Use, Hotels & Guest Houses, Pubs & Bars, Rental, Restaurants, Survey
Newswire - 16 June

The Restaurant Group (TRG) plans to exit 148 sites in its leisure division in CVA proposal

The Restaurant Group (UK) currently comprises about 313 branded restaurants including Frankie & Benny's, Coast to Coast, Joe's Kitchen, Chiquito & Garfunkel's. The proposals splits the estate into 4 category's. Category 1 (72 sites) will not have rental payments compromised due to the importance of the site or a parent Company Guarantee. Category 2 (28 sites) to pay 25% of the rent plus a turnover rent. Category 3 (62 sites) to pay 10% of rent plus a lower turnover rent. Category 4 (148 sites) "unsustainable in the near term".

Punch offer 75% rent reduction

Punch have offered their tenants on substantive tied agreements a 75% rent reduction in July reducing over the following months, stating "our aim remains to get Punch and our pubs through this global pandemic, together, in a sustainable manner".

Robinsons increases rent support

William Robinson, MD of the pubs division, said: "On 16 March we cancelled all pub rents, with them recommencing in steps from 4 July. The plan is to provide a discount of up to 90% for July; up to 60% for August; and 30% for September and October, with those who did not receive a government grant paying less than those who did receive one.

Chancellor suggests 2m rule should be cut

Rishi Sunak has told a meeting of the 1922 Committee, that he believes the two-metre social distancing rule should be cut to save jobs and help schools reopen, warning that 3.5 million people could lose their jobs. He said 24 countries had introduced the flexibility to cut the two-metre rule and suggested three-quarters of pubs will be able to reopen next month if the rule changes, only a quarter if not.

Operators unimpressed by draft property code of conduct

The code states: "The relationship between landlord and tenant is defined by law and it is not the intention of this code to undermine or alter the basis of the legal relationship or existing lease contracts, or override arrangements which have already been put in place. It remains the case that tenants remain liable for rent arrears, unless this is renegotiated by agreement with landlords. Jonathan Downey said: "It's woeful and feeble and will do nothing to help those tenants that need it the most. Tenants need protection from the worst kind of land-grabbing, aggressive, threatening landlords, none of whom will pay any attention to this. They will ignore this toothless, voluntary waste of time."

Gravity secures site at Warrington development

Indoor trampoline park operator Gravity has secured a site at the £142m Time Square development in Warrington. The company has signed for a 31,000 square foot unit and will begin fit-out in July. Along with wall to wall trampolines, the venue will also feature clip n climb, a ninja course with drop slides, soft play, social darts, a next generation sports simulator, as well as a cafe and bar.

UK hotel bookings up 45% in past week

Hotel bookings in the UK from July have seen a 45% rise in the past week, according to data from Areas that have particular seen a surge in bookings include Manchester, which is up 300% in the past seven days; Blackpool and Bristol, which have both seen a 200% jump. It was also reported 33% of Brits intend to stay in the UK this summer.

Sharma says 4 July remains earliest hospitality businesses will reopen

Business secretary Alok Sharma has said 4 July continues to be the earliest date government will look to open hospitality businesses. He said: "What we are doing is opening up the economy in a phased manner. We keep all things under review." The suggestions that pub gardens could reopen on 22 June was always unlikely as it wouldn't allow time to order, brew and deliver any beers quickly enough to get them into cellars.

Hall & Woodhouse rent cancellation period extended for reopening phase

Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has confirmed the rent cancellation and loan suspension period for its business partner estate will be extended to cover the pubs' reopening phase. After the initial eight-week rent cancellation period, the subsequent five weeks' rent will be charged at 50% of the normal levels.

Star Pubs & Bars extends rent reductions

Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars has extended its rent reductions for its leased and tenanted pubs. The company has already cancelled a significant proportion of rent for licensees. Since 20 March, two thirds of its core leased and tenanted pubs have received a rent concession of 50% to 75%, while a-third have received a concession of 75% or more.

The Three Joes acquire Fullers' The Stable business

The fledgling sourdough pizza concept with 3 units has acquired the 13-strong, pizza and cider concept, from Fuller's, for an undisclosed sum. The deal will see Three Joes expand into the south west, Wales and the Midlands. At present no decision has been taken on, if or when, it will convert them to the Three Joes name.

Travelodge writes to customers inviting them to vote on CVA

The Sunday Times has reported Travelodge has been accused of using a "loophole" to let customers vote on a restructuring that will damage landlords. The newspaper said: "The budget hotel chain has written to customers who have bookings - and so are technically creditors - inviting them to vote." Under the plan, landlords would forgo £144m in rent.

Wasabi appoints advisors to help assess options

Wasabi has appointed the restructuring team at KPMG to advise on its strategic options and assist with ongoing discussions with landlords regarding current rental arrangements. The business is looking to move towards a turnover rent arrangement with regard to its 51 stores.

And Finally...

Six hotels belonging to property company Shepherd Cox have been placed into administration. The six hotels - in Bicester, Chesterfield, Darlington, Hartlepool, Manchester and Sedgefield - called in administrators from Quantuma earlier this month. Each of the Shepherd Cox companies is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that owns a hotel and sold hotel rooms to investors with the promise of a guaranteed fixed return. The SPVs were unable to meet these guaranteed payments and were held by the High Court to all be insolvent.

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Graeme Bunn

Graeme Bunn

Managing Director

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