Brewer Thwaites to begin cutting jobs amid winter trading uncertainties

BREWER Thwaites has announced it is to begin cutting jobs as uncertainties around winter trading conditions continue to rise.

Richard Bailey, executive chairman at the Mellor Brook-based firm, told employees and stakeholders that despite re-opening all its establishments since the coronavirus lockdown – including pubs, inns, hotels and spas – the company had faced significant challenges in rebuilding and maintaining its position in a difficult climate for the hospitality industry.

The Westmorland Gazette:

In his statement, Mr Bailey said: “Since reopening trade has built steadily, aided by the significant measures of government support in the form of the VAT reduction on accommodation, food and soft drinks from 20 percent to five percent, which took effect on July 15 and remains in place until 12 January 2021.

“In addition, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran during August and boosted customers coming to eat in the early part of the week.

“The fine weather and the increase in staycations due to the travel restrictions put in place to prevent UK citizens from going abroad has also assisted our recovery.

“Reopening the business, under our ‘Stay Safe’ Covid-friendly operating procedures, has been a significant challenge for our teams, but they have done an amazing job of getting going and starting on the road to rebuild our position.

“What has become very clear in reopening though, is that the visibility we had last year on forward bookings has been greatly shortened, and we see no sign that this will change as we enter the winter.

“Against this background, we have taken the unwelcome decision to initiate a programme of redundancies to ensure our cost base reflects the environment that we expect to operate in over the coming months and protect the business against significant ongoing uncertainty.

“Whilst this pandemic is unexpected, the company embarked upon Covid-19 and shutdown in good health.

“Our initial experience upon reopening has been better than we had at first hoped, however the coming months are likely to test us again.”

The Westmorland Gazette:

Mr Bailey said area business managers had been a tremendous support for the 250 tenanted pubs in Thwaites’ portfolio, helping them to understand the new environment that they now find themselves operating in.

His statement added that assistance had been provided in helping tenants and landlords access grants, plan for re-opening and providing clear guidance on the full range of support that Thwaites was is able to offer, including rent concessions and the restocking of spoilt beer.

He added: “It has been our underlying objective that wherever possible, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, that the company will do everything we can to give our tenanted pubs the best chance of coming out the other side of the crisis able to re-establish their business and thrive once more.

“The company has been through troubled times before and has a strong asset base and an experienced management team to assist in finding a pathway through the challenges we face.”

It is not yet known from which locations or departments the redundancies will be made, or when they are expected to take place.

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs