Warning over Jongleurs' future

Clubs hit by Christmas cancellations

The owner of the Jongleurs chain of comedy clubs has warned that it may not be able to continue as a going concern if the recession bites harder.

Regent Inns, which also owns Walkabout and Old Orleans, reported another slump in sales for the last half of 2008, with Jongleurs suffering ‘significant decline’.

The business was particularly hard-hit by cash-strapped companies cancelling Christmas parties.

In his statement to the City, company chairman Jim Glover said: ‘The Jongleurs business relies heavily on advance ticket sales and Christmas, in particular, is the major opportunity to capitalise on the very profitable corporate market for parties… Exceptionally, there were many late cancellations from companies who were not prepared to proceed with parties at a time when they were making staff redundant.’

Announcing its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 27 December, Regent said that like-for-like sales had fallen by 12.2 per cent, from £77.1m to £67.6million, while its operating profit fell 67.5 per cent, from £4m to £1.3m.

The company said it was continuing to trade within its banking facilities, but warned that ‘the fragility of consumer confidence is possibly such that there is an associated material uncertainty over the group’s future performance, which may impact the group’s ability to… continue as a going concern.’

Glover said that the sales trend so far this year were in line with recent trends, adding: ‘Market conditions facing the sector have been very challenging. However, we have successfully managed cash flow, made progress with operational restructuring and, despite very difficult circumstances, reduced net debt during the period.’

Shares in the company fell more than 25 per cent on the announcement, valuing the entire company at about £2.2million.

Published: 27 Feb 2009

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.