PUB and bar chain Sir John Fitzgerald is still in the red despite reducing heavy losses to just over £400,000 over the year.
The Newcastle-based company steadily rose from a £1.4m loss to a £411,000 loss over the year to January 31, while its sales slid from £18.5m to £17.8m over the same period.
Sir John Fitzgerald runs a selection of venues in the region including The Bridge Hotel, The Bacchus and The Crown Posada, as well as the European cafe bar Cafe Royal on Nelson Street.
When it published its results for the previous year last August, the company warned the future outlook for the business was “uncertain” due to the country’s debt situation and the fact the licensed trade has been under siege in recent years from a variety of factors.
The company dropped from a £1.23m profit to a £1.4m loss over the year to January 31, while its sales slid from £18.9m to £18.6m over the same period.
And the company admitted the £1.23m profit in 2009 was largely down to the sale of some of its assets and the release of grant income.
Based on business from February this year, the company expects this coming financial year to be similar to last.
In its directors’ report, it said: “Our industry is affected by prosperity and our future will be determined by local prosperity.
“The management of the business and the execution of the company’s strategy are subject to a number of risks.
“We have considered the key business risks affecting the company and are satisfied we have done what we can to minimise the risk. In particular, and in the light of the current commercial environment, the company has taken steps to substantially reduce its borrowings.”
Over the year to this January, the average monthly number of part-time staff employed dropped from 258 to 248 while the full-time workforce fell from 318 to 293. Dividends of £27,595 were paid during the year.