Inventive steps up Revolution roll-out with predictions of vodka salesgrowth

Related tags United kingdom Newcastle upon tyne Vodka

Inventive Leisure is to step up expansion of its Revolution bars because it predicts further growth in the UK vodka market.It is about to open its...

Inventive Leisure is to step up expansion of its Revolution bars because it predicts further growth in the UK vodka market.

It is about to open its first branches in Newcastle-upon-Tyne next month and Doncaster in June to take the size of its estate up to 28.

Another five bars are already under way across the UK while terms have been agreed on a further seven.Chief executive Roy Ellis said Inventive was also opening larger sites while keeping fit-out costs unchanged.

New Revolutions in Derby, Bristol and Manchester's Deansgate Lock were an average of 3,600sq ft cent, compared to the previous average of 2,500sq ft.

Ellis said total sales of vodka at its Revolution bars now accounted for 31 per cent of all sales.

This was an overall increase of two per cent year-on-year, while innovative promotions had pushed up sales by eight per cent on a like-for-like basis.

"Encouragingly there still appears to be room for further growth in the UK vodka market," Ellis said.

"Currently vodka accounts for only 20 per cent of UK spirit sales compared to the 25 per cent that it accounts for in the worldwide markets."

The 40 per cent growth in vodka sales between 1995 and 1999 has fuelled the growth of Revolution and smaller vodka bar operators, such as the London-based Babushka.

According to The Publican Newspaper's Brands Report 2001, the vodka category continues to boom in the on-trade, boosted by growth in cheaper own-label makes.

Mainstream brands, such as Smirnoff, remain strong while premium brands, such as Absolut and Finlandia, are being driven by the growth of bars like Revolution and increasing interest in cocktails.

Inventive Leisure, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, increased pre-tax profits by 62 per cent to £940,000 in the six months to December 23.

Overall turnover was up 65 per cent to £8.56m while like-for-like sales at more established outlets were up nearly six per cent.

The only setback was a 1.4 per cent drop in operating margins caused by increased business rates introduced in April.

Margins were also hit by a hike in rental costs due to Inventive's increasing switch to leasehold from freehold sites.

Inventive's bars, which also include the Camel late-night venues and unbranded sites such as the award-winning Witchwood in Ashton-under-Lyne, have continued to thrive in the first two months of this year.

Turnover was up another 49 per cent year-on-year while like-for-like sales rose by 2.5 per cent.

Ellis said Inventive was no longer looking for packages of outlets and was still waiting to find the right site in London at the right price.

After the opening of bars in Collingwood Street, Newcastle, and Silver Street, Doncaster, the roll-out will take Revolution to the Broad Street area of Birmingham, Lincoln town centre, Belmont Street in Aberdeen, the university area of Bradford and Northampton town centre.

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