Borg-Neal reveals industry worries as Oakman reports lfl growth

09/10/2017 - 12:45
Founder and chief executive of Oakman Inns & Restaurants, Peter Borg-Neal, has spoken of his concerns for the industry and his business as Oakman reported growth in both like-for-like and total group sales.

Trading over the first half of Oakman’s financial year showed lfl sales up 8.6% for the 26 weeks ending 1 October, with total group sales up 27.5% at £13.5 million.

Despite Borg Neal (left) saying that reopenings of The Anchor in Hullbridge and The Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne had added to the company’s “growing momentum", the former Whitbread executive expressed his worries regarding company costs and potential investment decline.

“The key challenge we are experiencing is the increase in input prices driven by sterling weakness," said Borg-Neal. "We have seen a large increase in food prices whilst being very wary of passing them on to the consumer.

“However, the biggest impact on us is being seen in our capital expenditure costs. Items such as kitchen equipment and building materials have increased dramatically.

“When this is set against some of the other challenges to our trading it seems to us very likely that, without government intervention, there will be a significant slowing of investment in our industry.

“We need action on a number of fronts including addressing the absurd level of business rates, a streamlining of planning law and the removal of the unfair tax on food.

“Furthermore, I think Landlords need to recognise that there have been some structural changes to the sector business model and they will have to be more realistic about rent expectations. Equally, I call upon industry colleagues to think about the level of rent they are prepared to sign up to.”

Established in 2007, the Oakman Inns portfolio is made up of 20 sites across the Home Counties and West Midlands.

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