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Wed 15th Jan 2020 - Update: Revolution, Ten Entertainment and Everyman results
Revolution reports like-for-likes up 1.2% in first half, record festive period, reaches landlord agreement on nine sites: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of premium bars trading across the UK under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has reported like-for-like sales were up 1.2% for the 26 weeks to 28 December 2019. This represented a further improvement on the 0.7% increase reported after 13 weeks. Total revenue for the first half increased 3.4% to £81.2m, compared with £78.5m the previous year. Consistent with the board’s strategy to focus capex and management resources on the existing estate, there were no openings in the period. Three underperforming Revolution bars were closed in the period, in Swansea, Wood Street in Liverpool, and Macclesfield. The Macclesfield lease has been surrendered. Sales growth in the period was driven primarily by the annualisation of the five venues opened during the first half of FY19. The company has also reached agreed with Aprirose, landlord of nine of its properties, to surrender five leases of loss-making sites and re-gear four leases with a small net rent reduction. The board expects adjusted Ebitda for the first half on a pre-IFRS16 basis to have improved in line with market expectations. Like-for-like sales in the four-week trading period leading up to and including New Year’s Eve rose 4.0%. This is the seventh consecutive year of record growth over the festive period. During this four-week period, weekly sales per venue averaged more than £65,000. The company stated: “Sales trends in October and November broadly followed those experienced in the first quarter and, as anticipated due to strong growth in pre-booked party income, stepped up in December. Revolución de Cuba achieved strong like-for-like sales growth throughout the period while there was a further strengthening in the Revolution brand like-for-like sales trend over the course of the period. The board is also pleased to announce since the end of the interim reporting period, it has exchanged contracts with real estate investment company Aprirose, landlord of nine of the group’s properties, to surrender five leases of loss-making sites and re-gear a further four leases with a small net rent reduction but with a 25 year term. The transaction is expected to complete in March on payment by the group of a premium equivalent to less than three times the annual trading losses of the five lease surrenders. The net effect of these transactions is to improve the group’s on-going full year operational cash flows by circa £1.2m per annum.” Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “I am delighted with our Christmas trading and the steady improvement in our like-for-like sales performance over the first half is further evidence that our key initiatives are driving both operational and financial improvement. Considerable strides have been made in rebuilding customer loyalty and driving sales and profit from the existing estate, creating a stronger business with significant cash generation. Whilst external cost pressures persist, we will continue to manage cautiously, using excess cash to reduce indebtedness below one times Ebitda before we will consider further expansion opportunities.”

Ten Entertainment Group reports full-year like-for-likes up 8.0%: Ten Entertainment Group, the UK’s second-largest ten-pin bowling operator, has reported like-for-like sales increased x8.0% for the year ending 29 December 2019 – an eighth consecutive year of growth. Total sales were up 10.2% to £84.1m. Four sites were refurbished during the year including Coliseum Leisure Park in Cheshire Oaks, which has been revamped to showcase a range of customer innovations and concepts. Manchester Printworks, its inaugural new-build site, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2020. The company added it expects group adjusted Ebitda for the year will be in line with market expectations. Chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “Ten Entertainment has had another strong year, delivering profitable sales growth. Our ever-evolving offer, providing family entertainment underpinned by ten pin bowling, is thoroughly enjoyed by increasing numbers of customers. We continue to innovate, increase our footprint and improve the quality of our offering which positions us well for future growth.”

ASK Italian fined over ‘misleading’ lobster dish: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has been fined for misleading customers about a lobster dish. The Aragosta e Gamberoni (lobster and king prawns) dish contained a mixture of 35% lobster and 34% white fish, plus other ingredients, formed to look like lobster meat, an investigation found. The dish, the most expensive on the menu, retailed at £14.95 while the cost of the raw ingredients was £2.84. The chain was fined £40,000 on Tuesday (14 January) for misleadingly describing food, reports the BBC. Azzurri Restaurants, trading as ASK Italian, admitted the charge at Swansea Magistrates’ Court in November. Sales of the dish have amounted to £3m across the UK since it was launched in 2014, though the charge spanned the period between 1 December 2016 and 20 March 2019 – when Swansea Trading Standards alerted ASK Italian and it removed the dish from its menu. ASK Italian apologised for what it described as an error, and accepted without reference to white fish, the menu description was incomplete and likely to mislead. It denied having a financial motivation and said the item had the lowest profit margin of all the restaurant’s pasta dishes, adding there was no health and safety risk associated with this case. 

England’s only county without a McDonald’s to get restaurant: Rutland will lose its status as the only county in England without a McDonald’s after plans for a new restaurant were given the go-ahead. At a meeting on Tuesday (14 January), Rutland County Council approved the application for a drive-thru on the outskirts of Oakham. McDonald’s said it was “delighted” at the decision. The company said the plans had a “great reception” and would create at least 65 jobs. Before the meeting, the council received 23 representations of support and 55 objections for the restaurant off Lands End Way. 

Everyman reports record group sales of £65m: Cinema operator Everyman has reported record group sales of £65.0m for the year ending 2 January 2020 compared with £51.9m the previous year, an increase of 25% Average ticket price increased to £11.37 from £11.26 and spend per head was up to £7.13 from £6.30, driven by service and menu development. Pre-IFRS 16 Ebitda is expected to be about £12.0m, an increase of 30% year on year, exceeding revenue growth as the group benefits from a larger estate. This equates to a post-IFRS 16 Ebitda of circa £15.7m. Everyman now operates 33 cinemas, with five venues opened in the final quarter of the financial year, in Cardiff, Clitheroe, London Broadgate, Manchester and Wokingham. The total number of screens now operated by the group has increased from 84 to 110. Together with Horsham and Newcastle which were opened in the first half of the year, this brings the total number of venues opened in 2019 to seven – a record number of openings for the group in a single year. The company stated: “The group also continues to source exciting opportunities for future investment. Since the interim results were published on 24 September 2019, lease agreements have been signed for three more venues, in Aberdeen, Exeter and London Kings Road). Including these the company has commitments in place to open a further 12 venues by 2022, with four openings confirmed for 2020, consisting of Dublin, Lincoln, London Kings Road, and Plymouth.” Chief executive Crispin Lilly said: “This is a solid result for the year. After record admissions in 2018, UK box-office fell by 1.9% in 2019; despite this we grew each of our key performance metrics and also increased our overall market share of the UK box-office. We remain positive on the outlook for the cinema industry, the Everyman brand and for the company in 2020. Our teams continue to deliver great results across all areas of the business and we are well placed to deliver to expectations in 2020.”

The Lakes Distillery raises £4.25m in new funding: Cumbrian-based The Lakes Distillery has raised new funding of £4.25m to finance ambitious plans to triple production capacity to 1.2 million bottles a year. The distillery, which was formed in 2011 and started operations by Bassenthwaite Lake, in 2014, has secured the money from Comhar Capital in return for a minority stake in the business, reports The Times. Leeds-based Comhar was established in 2018 by Neil Armstrong and Craig Wilkinson as an independent direct capital investment business. Wilkinson will join the board of the Lakes Distillery. The Lakes Distillery, which in 2018 considered a stock market listing, raised £3.75m last year from a group of investors led by Gresham House Asset Management and is said to remain interested in a flotation. 

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