Revolution Bars down 9% on pre-Covid levels

Greater Manchester-based Revolution Bars Group plc said its group like-for-like sales were down 8.7% versus pre-Covid levels in the year ended July 2, 2023, “as trading in our late-night bars has continued to be difficult with our younger guests struggling financially in the current challenging economic environment.”

Revolution Bars Group CEO Rob Pitcher said: “FY23 has been very challenging, however we have controlled costs and limited capex in the second half to reduce net debt.”

Revolution said that notwithstanding these trading conditions, its Christmas party pre-booked revenue is 24.7% up compared to the same time last year.

“We have managed the inflationary cost environment proactively, and are pleased to see wholesale electricity prices reduce from their peak last year,” said Revolution.

“In addition, we have tightly controlled spend across the group in the second half of FY23.

“We paused our major refurbishment programme in January, having completed five significant refurbs in the preceding six months, when the depth of the challenges faced by the UK economy more generally, and our Revolution guests in particular, became clear.

“These refurbishments have performed well, outperforming the rest of the estate, and have largely delivered the two-year pay back expectation.

“Assuming that trading continues in line with our expectations, we are committed to restarting this programme as soon as we are able.

“Until then we are limiting capital investment to where it is essential to maintain and enhance the condition of the key assets in the estate.”

Revolution said its Peach Pubs business has continued to trade strongly and in line with business expectations at acquisition, with full year like-for-like sales up 14% ahead of pre-Covid LFLs.

“With a positive contribution from Peach Pubs, and notwithstanding the challenging trading conditions for our late-night bars, we are pleased to be able to confirm FY23 EBITDA (IAS 17) is expected to be in line with market expectations of £6.6m,” said the firm.

“The group had net bank debt of £20.8m as at 25 July 2023.

“We expect the trading conditions we operate in to remain challenging for FY24 and look forward to the all-important peak trading period at Christmas which we hope will be the first uninterrupted peak period since 2019.”

Revolution Bars Group CEO Rob Pitcher added: “Our acquisition of Peach Pubs was well timed given the impact of the economic challenges to the younger guests in our Revolution bars alongside the working from home trend being exacerbated by continued uncertainty on the rail network.

“The Pubs estate is in great shape and I have enjoyed getting to know the teams at the pubs, as well as seeing our guests enjoy themselves in our beautiful gardens. There is a huge opportunity to strengthen and grow this brand and I look forward to us embracing that.

“Our vision and strategy to delight our guests across all our brands is delivering, and when our guests have the opportunity to go out and enjoy themselves we see them come to us, where our teams across the group love making them feel welcome.”