Brighton Pier waves losses goodbye as former Pizza Express chairman right-sizes operations

Oliver Gill
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Blue sky thinking: Brighton Pier has turned its fortunes round under Luke Johnson's stewardship (Source: Getty)

Brighton Pier is back in the black and said that students had played a pivotal role in its return to profitability.

The company revealed that it had sold 664,000 drinks under a "Loyalty Card" system during the last student year. This meant that on the assumption that every student moseyed down to the seaside for a pint, each one had consumed an average 20 drinks during their academic year.

Revenues for the year to June were broadly flat at £22.6m but earnings doubled from £0.7m to £1.4m and losses in 2015 of £0.5m were transformed into profits of £0.9m for 2016.

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Chairman Luke Johnson – who is involved with a broad range of businesses from Patisserie Valerie to Brompton Cycles as well as previously expanding Pizza Express – hailed the results and said that it had been a "transformational year".

Johnson added that trading during the important summer months had been in line with expectations despite challenges that were out of the company's control.

"Good weather has continued to attract visitors to Brighton seafront, despite the significant disruption to rail services over recent months," he said.

Cutting out head office costs were also key to the financial success and "essential to the future profitability of the existing business" according to Johnson.

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However it was the focus on students that had paid real dividends.

"The campaign for returning students in September 2015 was a notable success, halting the slow-down witnessed during the previous year.

"The introduction of the ‘Loyal’ card scheme, the installation of free public wi-fi, improved offers and better communication with customers, have all contributed towards new student nights, boosting overall student numbers and increasing mid-week sales for the group," the chairman said.