Chloe Shakesby

Welcome Break owner bounces back from 57 per cent pandemic sales drop

A roadside convenience retailer has today reported a “resilient” recovery from the 26.6 per cent sales reduction caused by the pandemic.

Applegreen, which is based in Ireland and owns UK chain Welcome Break, saw group revenue in the first half of the year dip to €1.1bn from €1.5bn in 2019.

The group’s adjusted EBITDA was down by more than 50 per cent, dropping from €58.9m in the first half of last year to €25.3m.

At the height of lockdown, sales volumes fell to 57 per cent below the previous year, improving “significantly” to 29 per cent in June.

Bob Etchingham, CEO of Applegreen, commented: “The first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented period due to the Covid-19 pandemic and I am immensely proud of the tremendous efforts of our people in supporting our customers and local communities throughout this challenging period.

“Applegreen carried good momentum from last year and traded strongly for the first ten weeks of the year, however, we saw a sudden and significant impact on the business from mid-March, particularly in our motorway service areas.

“This was most pronounced in April and May, but volumes recovered well by the end of the second quarter.

“To help mitigate some of this impact, the group took swift and decisive action in managing our cost base and tailoring our retail offer for changing consumer needs.

“Encouragingly, this recovery has continued over the summer months with the further lifting of restrictions, government stimulus packages and the staycation trend, all of which has improved traffic volumes.

“This performance further demonstrates the resilience of our business model and of our sector.

“We have learnt a lot during this crisis and are confident that we will emerge as a stronger organisation that is well positioned to benefit from future opportunities across all of our markets.”

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