Despite Covid-related difficulties, the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) has reported good results and has many projects in the pipeline.
Head above water again – that is the feeling. After two years marred by the health crisis, the SBM has just presented its results for the 2021-2022 financial year. In the space of a year, turnover increased by more than 50%, from €337 million to €530 million.
“These are pretty good figures given the circumstances. We suffered enormously in the first quarter, from April to June 2021. However, from then on, business took off well beyond our expectations”, said Jean-Luc Biamonti, the SBM’s CEO. “Even the low season, which is always a little difficult, was satisfactory too.”
And even though turnover is still down 14% compared to 2019-2020, the group has seen an increase in profits compared to 2019 and, of course, 2020.
I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!
Customers are coming back in droves
But despite these encouraging results, the SBM will nevertheless have to adapt to face a new problem, which appeared along with the health crisis: the huge shortage of seasonal workers, despite the recruitment sessions organised by the group this year: “We can’t find anyone, it’s very difficult, but everyone is experiencing the same problems, throughout France and Europe… We have major issues that will no doubt force us to revise our catering offering. (…) We have the permanent staff, it’s the seasonal workers that are proving difficult to find. We are about forty people short,” explains Jean-Luc Biamonti.
It is even more of a problem because the customers are coming back in droves! This was obvious during the Grand Prix, which the SBM CEO describes as exceptional: “There was a huge number of people, in the hotels and at the tables, I have never seen anything like it, our numbers were excellent! (…) We feel that there is a catch-up phenomenon: people have been frustrated for months and months, having to stay at home, not being able to spend or party. Friday night, at Jimmy’z, you couldn’t move! Dancing was out of the question, it was just a case of choosing if you could step to the left or right. It was jam packed… I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!”
Many projects in the pipeline
Jimmy’z could actually be revamped for next summer: “We’re not going to revisit the concept of Jimmy’z, but these days it’s just not feasible to have a club that opens at midnight. We’re thinking about a pre-nightclub meal offering. It will be a lively venue with food, entertainment…”
This is certainly not the only project under consideration. The SBM has several ideas on how to reinvent itself. Starting with the reopening of the Café de Paris, scheduled for June 2023, which includes the opening of the Amazonico restaurant, a Brazilian concept, on the top floor of the Café. “It’s going to be massive, there will be more space here than in the other Amazonicos,” Jean-Luc Biamonti was pleased to announce. Luxury boutiques are expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.
The reopening of the building as a whole should also coincide with that of Moods, according to the SBM CEO, adding that the latter will be revisited, or may be part of an even more ambitious project.
A new festive restaurant at the Monte-Carlo Beach and refurbishment of the rooms at the Monte-Carlo Bay and Hotel Hermitage are also on the cards. Also, the Monte-Carlo Casino is currently undergoing remodelling.
Finally, the patio at the Hôtel de Paris should soon be redesigned, with activities instead of the Graff jewellery store.
“The Covid year was very difficult”, Jean-Luc Biamonti concluded. “We lost a lot of money, we had to make a number of difficult decisions, but they have paid off and mean that the Société des Bains de Mer can look to the future with optimism.”