Revolution Bars Group is to close eight sites across England as it warned that its younger customers are still feeling a “disproportionate” strain from rapid increases in the cost of living.
The announcement came despite the company reporting its most positive Christmas trading period since 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, forcing the closure of the hospitality sector across the UK.
The group’s “least profitable” bars in Beaconsfield, Derby, Reading, Liverpool, Wilmslow, Sheffield, Southampton and Newcastle-Under-Lyme will shut to reduce losses, a Friday statement
“Our younger customers are still feeling the disproportionate effect of the cost-of-living crisis and the national living wage will increase materially in April 2024,” chief executive Rob Pitcher commented.
“Therefore, we have taken the difficult yet ultimately beneficial step for the group to close several bars which are unprofitable.”
Sales over the first half of the year, despite demonstrating an improving trend, fell by 2.8%, Revolution added in the update.
Net debt sat at £18.3 million, meanwhile, compared to £20.8 million last July.
Festive trading over the four weeks to 31 December 2023 had been positive, Revolution said, with 9% like-for-like sales growth marking its best for the period since 2019 – before the pandemic shut bars and restaurants.
“We have had the best festive trading period for four years with all of our brands recording positive like-for-like sales,” Pitcher added.
“Again we have demonstrated that when our customer base can afford to do so, they are choosing to celebrate with us.”
The closures will leave Revolution Bars with 58 bars and 22 pubs.