Inverness-based Carlton Bingo has reported an 85 percent decline in revenue for the year ended 28 March 2021, after Covid restrictions forced estate-wide venue closures. If ever there was a signal to the chancellor that the sector needs support, Carlton’s Covid experience is a full house of messaging.
Carlton Bingo has reported a £12 million decline in revenue for the year ending 28 March, as the impact of the pandemic forced venue closures across the entirety of its estate.
Publishing its annual strategic report, the Inverness- based operator revealed that turnover fell 85 percent to just over £2m for the 2020/21 period, precipitating a pre-tax loss of £576,401.
“The group was prohibited from trading due to Covid lockdown for the majority of the period with some premises trading for as little as 44 days,” states the report. “During the 44-day period from August 27 to October 9, 2020, when all premises traded, the group was able to generate a reasonable profit despite all the restrictions.”
“This result was enabled via a principal focus on safe reopening to protect our staff and customers, and continued forensic management of all costs.”
The group, which had reported a £1.7m pre-tax profit for the 2019/20 period, was forced to shutter its Dumbarton premises as a result of the pandemic, stating “trading was not viable under continued restrictions.”
Carlton was also obliged to reduce staff numbers from 292 to 236, “to ensure viability at the significantly lower level of trading and in advance of the anticipated end of furlough at 31 October, 2020.”
Though staff costs decreased from £5.3m to £4m, additional expenditure was required in staff training, signage and PPE, screens at PoS and seating areas, and new payment devices to promote cashless transactions.
Looking ahead, the report added “all planned developments remain on hold while the company focuses on re-establishing the business post-lockdown.”
“Following reopening, the company continues to focus on customer service while retaining a number of significant measures to ensure the continued safety of staff and customers against Covid. Similarly, all efforts continue to be made to protect cash f low during this phase of re-establishment.”