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price of covid Copper Face Jacks announces €10.5m revenue hit due to Covid-19 pandemic

The sharp decline in revenues and losses serve to underscore the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the night-club sector

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Copper Face Jacks nightclub in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Copper Face Jacks nightclub in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Copper Face Jacks nightclub in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The company that operates the country’s most celebrated night-spot, Copper Face Jacks, last year sustained a €10.5m revenue hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is according to new accounts which show that Covid-19 put the brakes to Copper Face Jacks firm, Breanagh Catering Ltd recording consistent year on year strong profits last year.

This follows the firm recording pre-tax losses of €1.5m for the 12 months to the end of January 31st this year.

The pre-tax losses of €1.5m for the year follow pre-tax profits of €2.46m in 2019 - a negative swing of €3.97m.

The night-club business - jointly owned by Cathal and Paula Jackson - was only open for six weeks of the 12 months covered by accounts and revenues and plummeted by €10.5 million or 90 per cent from €11.62m to €1.1m.

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Eugene Masterson with Coppers' owner Cathal Jackson.

Eugene Masterson with Coppers' owner Cathal Jackson.

Eugene Masterson with Coppers' owner Cathal Jackson.

The accounts cover revenues generated by the Jackson Court hotel that houses Copper Face Jacks on Dublin’s Harcourt Street.

The night-club and bar revenues last year totalled €977,306 compared to €10.09m in the prior year while accommodation sales amounted to €139,073 compared to €1.52m in 2019/20.

The sharp decline in revenues and losses serve to underscore the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the night-club sector.

Copper Face Jacks re-opened to much fanfare only on October 22nd after being shut down for 18 months.

After Government Covid-19 restrictions shut down bars and night-clubs past midnight in early December, ‘Coppers’ opened from 6pm to 12am.

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However, it has been forced to shut its doors again due to fresh Government restrictions on the hospitality sector as the Government grapples with the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Concerning the risks facing the company, the directors state that “ongoing developments of Covid-19 provide for a very uncertain outcome”.

They state that “2020/21 has been a very challenging period with the business fully closed since March 2020”.

The report adds: “The directors continue to focus on cash flow and managing costs, allowing them to be satisfied they have mitigated the risks associated with Covid-19 to the maximum extent possible at this time”.

Numbers employed by the business last year more than halved from 173 to 80 with staff costs reducing by 50pc from €3.99m to €1.99m.

Pay to directors reduced from €485,182 to €381,393.

The company last year received ‘other operating income’ of €917,093.

The loss takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €648,605.

At the end of January last, the company’s accumulated funds totalled €10.65 million. The company’s cash pile reduced from €919,070 to €122,269.

No dividend was paid last year and this followed a €21.69m dividend that was paid out in the prior year to a connected holding company, Breanagh Catering Holdings Unlimited. This firm is jointly owned by Cathal and Paula Jackson.

Born in Roscommon and raised in Laois and living in Dublin since the mid-1970s, Mr Jackson spoke about the appeal of ‘Coppers’ in an interview earlier this year.

The former Garda said: “It just seems to be a place for anyone to meet from all corners of Ireland”.

He said: “Country people love coming up to a place that they associate with a country disco and there is a Dublin following as well. The GAA along with soccer, rugby and all other sports has really helped with the longevity of Coppers.”

Mr Jackson set up Copper Face Jacks in February 1996 and he put the business up for sale in March 2019 with industry sources at the time speculating the business might realise €40m.

However, staff were told in a company memo in November 2019 that the business was no longer for sale as Mr Jackson “has decided to stay actively involved in the business”.

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