KFC, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

Prestige Holdings Limited, the parent company of several local popular food establishments including the KFC and Starbucks franchises, has recorded a loss of $30.9 million for the nine-month period ended August 31, 2021.

For the same period, last year Prestige Holdings recorded a profit of $867,000.

These figures are a stark contrast to the $26.58 million and the $21.07 million in profit Prestige Holdings made for the comparative period in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

And it’s no surprise that the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant measures taken to stop its spread are being blamed for the change in fortunes.

“During our third quarter, the restaurant sector remained completely closed for 48 of the 92 days, after being closed for 32 days in the second quarter, and eventually reopened on 19 July 2021,” Christian E. Mouttet said in his chairman’s report.

“However, upon reopening, the dine-in channel remained closed and restaurants continue to operate with reduced opening hours due to the curfew restrictions,” he said.

Prestige Holdings is also the parent company for TGIF, Pizza Hut and Subway.

“As was the case in the second quarter, the severe restrictions to economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the sector in which we operate, continue to have an adverse impact on our company’s sales, operations and, by extension, profitability,” Mouttet said.

During the nine-month period, Prestige Holdings recorded a 26 per cent reduction in sales from $666 million to $491 million.

Mouttet said that net cash generated from operations for the year was $3.65 million.

“We ended the quarter with $42 million in cash, compared to $59.7 million at the beginning of the year, after accessing $40 million in temporary financing in order to improve liquidity and meet working capital requirements,” he stated.

Mouttet said Prestige was able to open one new restaurant, a Starbucks at the Shops at Trincity, and also closed its Subway restaurant at Tropical Plaza in Point a Pierre.

“Following on from 2020, our results reflect the difficulties our industry and other sectors in the economy have experienced during 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus remains present and unpredictable and this has forced us to be more adaptable and innovative in our operations and in how we interact with and reach our customers.

“We continue to have success with our digital strategies and in growing our delivery, drive-thru and curbside channels. We expect that with our strong brands and operations, when all COVID-19 restrictions are removed, our company will be well placed to grow sales and profitability across all channels,” Mouttet stated.