More sites next year says Revolution boss

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Site closures: Revolution claims it will open more sites this year (image: Evelyn Simak, Geograph)
Site closures: Revolution claims it will open more sites this year (image: Evelyn Simak, Geograph)

Related tags Revolution

Revolution Group chief executive Rob Pitcher has confirmed the bar chain still aims to open new sites in the near future after closing a handful of underperforming venues.

Revolution Group – which owns the bar brands Revolution and Revolución de Cuba – surrendered five leases to its landlord Aprirose earlier this month.

The closure of sites in Lincoln and Fallowfield, in addition to the sale of sites in Lancaster, Liverpool and Wolverhampton, which have already ceased trading, comprise the five venues.

Rent reductions for four venues in Leicester, Huddersfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Manchester have also been negotiated. 

Pitcher told The Morning Advertiser​ the closed sites had been out-positioned by changes in the night-time economy on local levels.

He said: “We have had [the sites in Lincoln and Fallowfield] for a long time and the circuits in various towns moved and, unfortunately, it has moved away from these two sites, so we were afforded the opportunity to exit those.

“We didn't feel they would be able to turn a profit in the foreseeable future, therefore, we decided that we would come out if the opportunity presented itself.

“Our status position on new openings is that we aim to be opening new sites in the second half of the next financial year. That's still our aspiration.”

The group closed venues in Liverpool, Swansea, and Macclesfield, in Cheshire, over the course of the first half of the financial year.

Christmas boost

The chain celebrated record sales over the festive period in its most recent trading update, with like-for-like sales in the four weeks up to and including New Year’s Eve up by 4%. 

Weekly sales per venue during the festive period averaged £65,000, according to the group.

Pitcher said: “We are very happy with how that happened and how that period worked for us.”

The boost in like-for-likes could be credited to the company’s refurbishment programme as well as the service and atmosphere across the chain’s estate, he said. 

He added: “The beauty of Revolution is that the company has two strong brands but our point of difference is the individuality of the design of those sites and equally the entrepreneurialism encouraged in our management teams to collaborate locally and trade in their environments.”

The group’s sales for the six months through to 28 December 2019 increased to £81.2m, up from £78.5m in the previous year.

Sector pressures

Pitcher said while the conclusion of the December general election meant a level of stability for the sector, he hoped industry-specific pressures would be addressed.

He explained: “I can't really comment on the outcome of the election but, going forward, we are grateful of the certainty that that's given us but there remains pressure on costs. 

“We look to the new Government to potentially do something on business rates to level up the pressures on the high street.”

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