Paul Bakery

Source: Paul Bakery

Sales at bakery and café chain Paul UK rose by more than a third in 2022 as trading began to recover from the pandemic.

Despite sales increasing by 34% year on year, from £26m to £35m, the business reported a £2.4m loss after taxation in its latest filing at Companies House. Paul UK had recorded profits of £2.5m the previous year.

After head office costs, EBITDA for 2022 was £0.4m, down from £1.3m in 2021.

The business, which operates primarily in London where it has around 30 sites, said footfall increased in spring last year as tourists and shoppers returned to locations such as Covent Garden and Piccadilly following the easing of covid restrictions.

“However, the business district of the City of London did not see the same increase and it remains unclear whether footfall in the City of London will return to pre-covid numbers with the fashion of working from home continuing to be prevalent,” stated the company.

The business said its biggest development in 2022 had been the roll-out of the Paul Le Café coffee-focussed concept in the UK. It is expected that a third of the estate will be upgraded over the next 12 months.

Paul made its first UK franchise agreement last year, with hospitality industry veterans Graham and Matthew Allan taking over the chain’s Oxford site. The brand will open another site this year with the same franchise partners and said it will continue to work with potential franchise partners to expand the chain in the UK.

The war in Ukraine and the aftermath of Brexit and the pandemic continued to impact the business, Paul reported, as did inflation, rising interest rates, labour shortages and supply chain disruption.

“The company continues to work with its partners to minimise any impacts of these events and maximise the realisation of opportunities they may provide to the business,” it stated.