Time Out losses narrow by over £50m after relaxation of pandemic-related curbs brings patrons back to markets
- Time Out Group revealed a £19.5m pre-tax loss for the 12 months ending June
- The Covid-19 Omicron variant severely hurt the firm’s sales during December
- Digital sales within its media arm exceeded pre-Covid volumes during the year
Time Out Group annual losses have fallen by over 70 per cent as easing Covid-19 restrictions brought customers back to its food and cultural markets.
The media and entertainment business revealed a £19.5million pre-tax loss for the 12 months ending June, compared to £71million the previous year when onerous lockdowns hammered the global hospitality industry.
Trading curbs continued to impact the firm for much of the recent period, especially following the Omicron variant’s emergence, which severely hurt sales in December 2021.
Recovery: Time Out’s markets division more than double its revenues to £28.9million and swing back to a £2.2million adjusted profit, having made an £8.4million loss in the prior year
But it saw demand significantly rebound during the spring and summer as people started travelling overseas more often, and workers returned to their offices.
These factors helped Time Out’s markets division more than double its revenues to £28.9million and swing back to a £2.2million adjusted profit, having made an £8.4million loss in the prior year.
Another seven markets are currently set to be opened over the coming five years, including in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, Porto, Portugal, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
It could open more sites, though, given that it expects to sign more management agreements, whereby a real estate partner finances all capital and operational spending on a project.
Chief executive Chris Ohlund said: ‘Interest from landlords in our markets proposition has never been stronger as they seek to drive footfall to increase the value of their property.
‘We are in advanced negotiations with real estate developers around the globe who wish to make Time Out Market the anchor of their properties as they consider our concept to be the world’s leading food and cultural market.’
The AIM-listed company acknowledged heightened economic uncertainty and inflation concerns but said it was ‘cautiously optimistic,’ partly due to the popularity of its advertising platform among major brands.
Digital revenues within its media arm have exceeded pre-Covid volumes as its creative solutions business enjoyed successful big-ticket campaigns with the likes of Diageo, Samsung and Google.
Time Out has been gradually transitioning from a magazine-based format in some cities towards a fully-online offering, which has incurred some higher costs but boosted its estimated average monthly audience by 19 per cent to 72 million.
In June, the firm published the final print edition of its London magazine, 54 years after the first one was released as a single-page pamphlet by founder Tony Elliott.
Time Out Group shares were up 4.9 per cent to 41.4p during the mid-afternoon on Tuesday, although their value remains about two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels.