Revolution Bars CEO slams ‘scandalous’ UK Government

Shares of Manchester-based Revolution Bars Group plc rose about 10% on Thursday after it published results for the 52 weeks ended June 27, 2020, saying its revenue fell to 27.3% to £110.1 million and it made adjusted loss before tax of £3.9 million compared to a profit of £3 million in the previous year.

Revolution Bars CEO Rob Pitcher said he is confident the firm will emerge from the Covid crisis a more focused business and in a strong position relative to the competition “ready to seize any opportunities that arise.”

The firm said revenue generated in the first 24 weeks of FY21 was £20.6 million, down significantly on £72.1 million for the same weeks in FY20 “due to the cautious and phased reopening of our bars from 6 July 2020 and as a result of the severe and constantly evolving operating restrictions including further national and local lockdowns, table service only and the 10pm curfew.”

Revolution Bars shares are down about 60% for the past 12 months.

Publishing the results, Pitcher launched a scathing attack on the UK Government, saying its treatment of bars and late-night operators has been “nothing short of scandalous.”

Pitcher said:”2020 has been an immensely challenging year but I am incredibly proud of the dedication shown by our team to steer us through this period.

“Prior to the onset of the pandemic we were reaping the rewards of the workstreams we introduced last year to improve performance with both brands in like-for-like sales growth, out-performing our High Street Bars peer group.

“We also continued to see strong results from our refurbishment programme.

“This work, combined with our focus on the customer experience through the development of our App, order and pay at table, and our on-line booking systems, and the additional financial strength and flexibility we have secured through the actions taken since the COVID pandemic hit the UK gives me great confidence that we are well placed to recover and return to growth once trading restrictions are removed.

“The UK Government’s actions towards wet-led bars and late-night hospitality are nothing short of scandalous.

“It has little evidence to justify the severe restrictions that have been imposed and it is deliberately sacrificing businesses and people’s livelihoods.

“The recent grants of £1,000 per pub as compensation for being deprived of our most important trading period is derisory and insulting, and underlines a complete lack of understanding of the costs associated with businesses of this nature (even when they are shut) or any sympathy for the consequences of their inept decisions.

“The next few months will continue to be challenging and entirely dependent on imposed operating restrictions.

“Further meaningful government support will be required to help safeguard the industry and avoid further job losses, particularly for young people.

“However, given the actions we have taken to secure the future of the business, I am confident that Revolution will emerge from this crisis as a more focused business, and in a strong position relative to our competition, ready to seize any opportunities that arise.”