Late-night trade challenging for Revolution Bars Group

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Ups and downs: Revolution bars have struggled while Peach Pubs is in ‘great shape’
Ups and downs: Revolution bars have struggled while Peach Pubs is in ‘great shape’

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Revolution Bars Group has admitted late-night trading continues to be a struggle as it posted overall like-for-like (lfl) sales were 8.7% down versus pre-Covid.

Revolution, which operates 68 bars and 21 pubs, chiefly under the Revolution, Revolución de Cuba and Peach Pubs brands, said younger guests were struggling financially in the current challenging economic environment as it announced a trading update on the year ending 2 July 2023 (FY23).

However, the group said its Peach Pubs arm, which it acquired in October 2022, has continued to trade strongly and in line with expectations when it was purchased with lfl sales up 14% against pre-Covid.

It added the Peach team is now largely integrated into the wider group and its sees “significant opportunities to invest in and expand this exciting brand when appropriate to do so”.

Christmas pre-bookings up 24.7%

Meanwhile, overall Christmas party pre-booked revenue is 24.7% compared to the same time last year, showing “our corporate guests are looking forward to enjoying the festive period with us”.

The group said: “We have managed the inflationary cost environment proactively and are pleased to see wholesale electricity prices reduce from their peak last year. In addition, we have tightly controlled spend across the group in the second half of FY23.”

The business paused its refurbishment programme in January after completing five refurbs in the preceding six months when the depth of the challenges faced by the UK economy and its Revolution guests, in particular, became clear. These refurbishments have performed well and outperformed the rest of the estate Revolution said.

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

FY23 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) is expected to be in line with market expectations of £6.6m. The Group had net bank debt of £20.8m as of 25 July 2023. It expects trading conditions to remain challenging for FY24.

Well-timed acquisition

Revolution Bars Group CEO Rob Pitcher said: “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.

“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.

“FY23 has been very challenging, however, we have controlled costs and limited capex in the second half to reduce net debt.”

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