Newcastle pub firm Sir John Fitzgerald warns of slow road to recovery

Independent pub chain Sir John Fitzgerald reported a marginal increase in turnover while profits dropped

The Cafe Royal on Nelson Street in Newcastle
The Cafe Royal on Nelson Street in Newcastle

Independent pub chain Sir John Fitzgerald says it could be some time before North East punters’ confidence returns, and they start spending at the bar.

The Newcastle-headquartered firm said turnover increased marginally as pre-tax profits more than halved in its last recent financial year.

The family pub firm reported turnover had edged up from £17.54m in 2013 to £17.56m in the year to the end of January 2014, although an increase in cost of sales negated this.

Pre-tax profits fell from £337,004 to £156,050 in the same period.

The company, which owns Newcastle venues Bridge Hotel, Crown Posada, The Bodega, Fitzgeralds and Cafe Royal, said its trading performance had “marginally improved” over the course of the year.

A statement within the company’s strategic report read: “The beginning of 2014/15 has shown a small increase in turnover over the previous year.

“However, it may be some time before the North East, our trading area, feels more affluent and shows it by going out more.

“The company will continue to invest in the business and its workforce in anticipation of improving times.”

Sir John Fitzgerald began life more than a century ago, after the firm’s founder John Fitzgerald moved to Newcastle from Ireland in 1850.

In the 19th century Fitzgerald was knighted in recognition of his services to the city, and the firm, has since gone on to operate for almost 100 years.

The chain has experienced a turbulent time of the last few years having reported a loss of £411,202 in 2012.

In these most recent results Sir John Fitzgerald said its future would be determined by local prosperity.

The Newcastle-based company, which runs a selection of venues across the North East, has ridden out a tough few years to post pre-tax profits of £337,004 for the year ended January 2013 – a major turnaround in its finances after reporting a loss of £411,202 for the previous 12 months.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
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