Endeavour Group boss Steve Donohue has said he is hopeful fully vaccinated patrons will eventually be allowed back into pubs and bars under new lockdown freedoms, with the company open to working with governments to make this a reality. Pubs usually depend on the sale of alcohol more than they do the food and when closed down they lose out on a lot of money and some of them can’t keep their doors open forever.
Endeavour owns and operates 339 pubs and clubs across the country, many of which are shut due to lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, but Mr Donohue said he was hopeful they would be able to reopen their doors to fully vaccinated customers in the not too distant future.
“We think there’s a real possibility of pubs getting back to the degree of normality in a world where you’ve got the maximum number of people vaccinated,” Mr Donohue said.
Endeavour, along with other players in the industry, are advocating for such a move, but Mr Donohue warned it wasn’t an “unconditional expectation”, stating that the industry needed to work with governments to assess the means by which that reality could be achieved.
His comments come as Endeavour, which also operates Dan Murphy’s and BWS, reported its maiden full-year result earlier on in the week after splitting off from parent company Woolworths in June.
Sales grew 9.3 per cent to $11.6 billion and earnings increased 22.1 per cent to $899 million in the year to June 28, though these figures were all achieved while under Woolworths’ ownership. Shareholders in the new entity will be paid a maiden dividend of 7 cents per share on September 22.
Online sales, a major area of growth for the retail sector, jumped 34.7 per cent to $859 million in the pandemic, comprising 8.4 per cent of sales.
Endeavour’s performance over the past 12 months has been a tale of two halves, with the company’s bottle shops growing strongly through lockdowns while its pubs and hotels segment struggled. Across the year, the company recorded 169 days when one or more of its pubs were shut.