Keeping it reel: Nu Metro 'managing challenges' as pandemic hits cinemas

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  • Nu Metro has not been spared by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but has a management strategy in place to respond to it.
  • Ster-Kinekor announced recently that it would be entering into a business rescue process.
  • Nu Metro's strategy includes limited trading times and temporary closure of cinema complexes with a lower footfall.


Nu Metro has acknowledged that it has not been spared by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on cinemas in South Africa and around the world, but says it has great faith in its strategy to run a sustainable business through the pandemic as well as the national lockdown.

This comes after another cinema chain, Ster-Kinekor, announced that it would be entering into a business rescue process after the pandemic had an adverse effect on major box office offerings and foot traffic at its cinemas.

Nu Metro marketing and content executive Chantelle Burrows said while the company was privately owned by KwaZulu-Natal equity group OneFifty Capital and could not disclose its financials publicly, she could say that Nu Metro was recovering from five months of not operating last year.

"We have seen some week-on-week increases in attendance numbers since reopening from the end of August, leading to the December holiday period – albeit not on the same levels as the previous year pre-Covid-19," said Burrows.

Burrows said from March last year, cinemas were completely closed for over five months, with the industry losing out on two of its most profitable periods, namely the April and June school holiday periods.

"Nu Metro has since been trading on a limited basis from the end of August 2020 as per governmental regulations and restrictions," Burrows said.

She said these factors, combined with the limited flow of content from international film studios, resulted in the severe business impact that cinemas are experiencing at present.

"But we are carefully managing the challenges at hand to sustain the business going forward," she said.

She said Nu Metro's cinemas remain open and continue to trade on a limited basis as part of its strategy to ensure the future sustainability of the business.

She said the strategy includes the implementation of limited trading times from Fridays to Sundays every week and the temporary closure of cinema complexes that receive lower footfall.

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