Brighton Pier blames train strikes and wet weather for drop in sales

Brighton Pier Group reported weaker-than-expected sales in the first half of the year. Credit: ITV Meridian

Brighton Pier Group has said trade in recent months has been "unusually difficult" after events such as weekend train strikes and wet weather affected the firm.

It came as the boss of the leisure group also highlighted that "persistent high inflation" and "cautious spending" from consumers led to a loss and weaker-than-expected sales in the first half of the year.

Shares in the company dropped in early trading as a result. Brighton Pier told shareholders sales and earnings were "lower than expected" over in recent months.

The company blamed "the weekend train strikes, exacerbated by exceptionally poor weather in July and August, and the temporary restriction of access following a fire at a major hotel opposite the entrance to the pier towards the end of July" for recent weakness.

Sales declined to £12.3 million for the 12 weeks to September 17 from £12.6 million over the same period last year as a result.

Anne Ackford, chief executive officer, said: "The regular weekend train strikes in particular have reduced visitor numbers on the pier by 18% versus comparable weeks in 2022.

"Combined with the unseasonably wet weather and the hotel fire that disrupted sales on the Pier for the final two weeks of July - two of the top 10 trading weeks of the year, trading has been unusually difficult.

"The group continues to be cash-generative and has a robust balance sheet, making it well placed to weather the macroeconomic challenges and execute its longer-term growth strategy."

A fire at the Royal Albion Hotel on Brighton seafront also had an impact on trade. Credit: ITV Meridian

It came after the company had already witness pressure over the first half of the year.

Brighton Pier reported a pre-tax loss of £1 million for the six months to June, as it also recorded revenue of £16.2 million, falling from £17.3 million a year earlier.

Ms Ackford added: "The group is navigating a challenging environment, with persistent high inflation and cautious spending by consumers negatively impacting trading.

"When combined with the ongoing cost pressures, this has resulted in the group recording lower than expected sales and earnings in the first half of 2023."

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