The chain that runs the historic North Stafford Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent cut almost 1,000 jobs in the last financial year. Britannia Hotels has reduced its workforce as turnover fell by more than £80m.
And the chain – ranked the worst in the UK for nine consecutive years – has also lost nearly £10m.
According to documents recently filed with Companies House, the Cheshire-based firm posted a pre-tax loss of £9.5m for the 12 months to March 31, 2021, compared to a profit of £13.7m. pounds sterling the previous year. Its turnover also rose from £120.4m to £38.3m over the same period.
READ MORE: GQ magazine names Staffordshire border hotel ‘best in the country’
When the company disclosed its accounts for the 12 months ending March 31, 2020, it said it was “likely” to post a loss for the following year. The documents also show that the number of employees was reduced from 2,740 to 1,765 over the 12-month period, with clerical and managerial staff down by 62 and direct workers by 913.
The latest results come after Britannia Hotels was ranked the UK’s worst hotel chain for the ninth consecutive year, according to an annual survey by consumer group Which?. Britannia, which has 61 hotels across the UK including the North Stafford Hotel outside Stoke Station, came bottom of the list after receiving an average score of just 49%.
More than half (51%) of Britannia guests surveyed said they encountered a problem during their stay, with cleanliness being the most common issue. The chain has been rated one out of five stars for bathrooms and two stars for seven other categories such as cleanliness, customer service and value for money.
A statement signed by the board said: ‘Sales were down 68% for the year. This reflects the impact Covid-19 has had on performance and trading conditions across the economy in 2021.
“The realized gross margin for the year amounts to 47.4% (2020: 61.9%). Again, this significant margin decline reflects trading conditions since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our priority continues to be to maintain occupancy levels and manage operating costs so that the company is well positioned to exploit new investments in new properties. The hospitality industry in the UK is becoming increasingly competitive, increasing the risk of losing important business accounts to competitors.
“The company manages to control this risk by adding enhanced services while maintaining very competitive prices and maintaining good relations with its customers. Demand for hotel services may be affected by general economic conditions in the country, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are careful to maintain the necessary flexibility not only on our prices in order to respond to market conditions, but also to allow us to adapt and overcome the ever-changing challenges of operating hotels in the socio-economic environment. current. In addition, we closely control our costs, especially labor costs, to ensure that the business maintains its competitive position.
Regarding its outlook, the company added: “The directors remain convinced that the company is well positioned to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future. Hotels have managed to maintain their competitive edge during the economic downturn and continue to take steps to attract new business and improve their market share in the future.
“The Directors have carefully reviewed the availability of working capital and likely trading levels over the next 12 months. They are confident that the business is well positioned to meet the challenges, including the current geopolitical uncertainty, the cost of living and the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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