Hollywood Bowl has revealed that it sank to a £14.5million pre-tax loss in the six months to the end of March after being shut due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Bosses for the popular ten-pin bowling chain, that has branches in Atria Watford and Woodside Leisure Park, said that revenues for the chain as a whole during the period also fell from £69.2million to just £12million.

Despite the slump in revenue, the chain remains hopeful that there will be a swift recovery as lockdown restrictions ease today (May 17), allowing it to reopen for the first time this year.

During the brief period when lanes were opened in October, the average customer spend was in line with pre-Covid levels of £10.16 per game – compared with £10.29 previously.

But the chain was only able to operate for 11 weeks of the 60 since the pandemic first struck.

Regardless, Hollywood Bowl is eyeing up to open between 14 and 18 new centres across the nation by 2024 – including a new golfing Puttstars site in Harrow.

The lockdown saw negotiations taking place with landlords, including £2.1 million written off in rent and a further £2.5 million deferred in the period – culminating in total rent of £3.6 million paid in the six months.

The company took advantage of the furlough scheme and also ensured staff salaries were topped up to at least 70 per cent of take-home pay, while management took a pay cut too.

Chief executive Stephen Burns said: “We are emerging from this challenging year of continuous lockdowns in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunities to invest in and significantly grow our portfolio of ten-pin bowling and mini-golf centres in prime locations and are pleased to be starting construction on three new centres later this year.

“The considerable demand we saw from customers when we reopened after the first lockdown and the strength of our pre-bookings for May gives us confidence that we can recover to pre-pandemic performance levels as families flock back for fun, celebrations and affordable activities.”