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Time Out slashes losses by over £50m as patrons return to markets

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Time Out losses narrow by over £50m after leisure 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 inside its media arm exceeded pre-Covid volumes through the 12 months

Time Out Group’s 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, in comparison with £71million the previous 12 months when onerous lockdowns hammered the worldwide hospitality industry.

Trading curbs continued to affect the London-based 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 greater than double its revenues to £28.9million and swing back to a £2.2million adjusted profit, having made an £8.4million loss within the prior 12 months

Nevertheless it saw demand significantly rebound through the spring and summer as people began travelling overseas more often and staff returned to their offices. 

These aspects helped Time Out’s markets division greater than double its revenues to £28.9million and swing back to a £2.2million adjusted profit, having made an £8.4million loss within the prior 12 months.

One other seven markets are currently set to be opened over the approaching five years, including in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, Porto, Portugal, and Abu Dhabi within the United Arab Emirates.

It could open more sites, though, provided that it expects to sign more management agreements, whereby an actual estate partner funds 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 extend the worth of their property.

‘We’re in advanced negotiations with real estate developers across the globe who want 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 as a consequence of the recognition of its promoting platform amongst major brands.

Digital revenues inside its media arm have exceeded pre-Covid volumes as its creative solutions business carried out successful big-ticket campaigns with the likes of Diageo, Samsung and Google.

Time Out has been regularly 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 ultimate print edition of its London magazine, 54 years after the primary one was released as a single-page pamphlet by founder Tony Elliott.

Time Out Group shares closed 6.3 per cent up at 40.4p on Tuesday, although their value stays roughly two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels.

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