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Tue 17th Jan 2023 - Update: Revolution Bars Group, Cooks Coffee, Brewhouse & Kitchen
Revolution Bars Group sees Christmas like-for-like sales down 9% on 2019 levels, closing some Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba sites in early part of week during January and February to manage energy usage: Revolution Bars Group, which operates 90 premium pubs and bars, trading mainly under the Revolution, Revolucion de Cuba and Peach Pub brands, is closing a number of its Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba sites on Mondays and Tuesdays in January and early February to manage its energy usage. It comes as the business reported like-for-like sales in the five weeks to 31 December 2022 were down 9.0% on 2019 levels as train strikes hit trading. The company said IAS 17 Ebitda outturn for the year, including rental costs, is now likely to be lower than previously guided and is estimated to be at the bottom end of the range of market expectations, of £6.7m to £10.5m. The company stated: “Like-for-like sales for the group [in the Christmas trading period] compared with the same period in 2021 were up 17.3%, with strong corporate party bookings reflecting a return of corporate guest confidence. The comparative period in these numbers was, however, affected by Omicron. Furthermore, pre-booked party revenue in the Christmas trading period, an indicator of corporate confidence, was up 10.3% versus 2019 representing an all-time like-for-like sales record for the group. By comparison however our guests’ confidence in the reliability of the train service and their ability to travel has been severely impacted over recent months, with the threat of and ultimately significant industrial action through strikes in the week commencing 11 December, traditionally our busiest week of the year. This taken together with the ramifications of the cost of living crisis has meant our walk-in revenue was lower than in previous years, with a consequential impact on group sales. Group like-for-like sales for the Christmas trading period, when compared to the same period in 2019, the last Christmas period not affected by covid-19, were down 9.0%. Pleasingly, over the Christmas trading period, our recently acquired, Peach Pubs business continued its strong performance delivering like-for-likes over the same period with revenues increasing 7.5% compared to 2021 and 10.1% compared to 2019 clearly demonstrating the additional resilience and diversity that Peach Pubs has brought to the group since its acquisition in October 2022. Overall in the first half, the 26 weeks ended 31 December, compared with the same period in 2019, like-for-like sales in the group were down 9.4% reflecting the impact on our Revolution and Revolucion De Cuba brands of the record temperatures in the summer, the previously mentioned industrial action on the railways, together with the poor economic outlook on guest confidence. By comparison, in the period since acquisition in October 2022, like-for-like sales at Peach Pubs compared with 2019 have remained significantly positive at 9.9%. As a consequence of the impact on our key Christmas trading period, the board has reassessed its expectations of the group’s FY23 outturn assuming that industrial action subsides, energy prices hold at their current levels and taking into account various mitigating actions being undertaken. These mitigating actions include closing a number of the Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba sites on Mondays and Tuesdays in January and early February to manage our energy usage, amongst additional benefits to our teams. Group net debt as at 31 December was £18.5m.” Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, said: “The first Christmas since 2019 without the shadow of covid, saw a new company record for pre-booked party revenue allowing us to be optimistic of a strong Christmas period. However, the continued train strikes had a material impact on whether guests attended their office Christmas parties, how long they stayed and whether they met up with friends on a separate occasion. Given the current economic environment, the coming months are going to be challenging and uncertain, not only for us, but for many businesses. We are not immune to this. The board have reviewed their expectations for the full year, taken a number of actions to mitigate the external factors where possible, and will continue to track these closely. The decision to close some bars on a Monday and Tuesday in the early weeks of the year allows us to minimise energy usage in our quietest period while also allowing our teams to recover after the busy Christmas period. I am again proud of our team’s resilience during this disrupted Christmas and new year period, and know that they have loved, as have I, seeing our guests enjoying themselves.”

Propel’s The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to feature full profiles of more than 650 companies, launching on Friday: Propel’s The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature the full profiles of more than 650 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators. It is the fifth major database exclusive to Premium subscribers and will be launched on Friday (20 January). The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database, which will be updated monthly, has taken 16 months to pull together, merging Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel's library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before.

Cooks Coffee Company posts record store sales in the UK for 2022: Cooks Coffee, the international coffee focused cafe chain and parent company of the brands Esquires and Triple Two, has reported record sales in the UK for the year ended 31 December 2022. The company stated: “Cooks Coffee has recorded strong sales growth in the UK, up 41% on 2021, with store sales in Ireland up by 91%. The company has focused its efforts on driving sales volumes through its existing estate before embarking on a store expansion programme. Group sites in the UK and Ireland are currently at 85, up from 82 sites as at 31 December 2021. Since the start of 2023, Esquires has opened a new outlet in Brackley, Northamptonshire. A further four openings are planned before the end of March 2023 in the UK in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Bedfordshire. The Triple Two brand is also focused on a number of expansion opportunities, with three new stores currently planning to open in London and southern England before the end of March 2023.” Keith Jackson, executive chairman of Cooks Coffee Company, said: “These cafe sales results highlight the resurgence and growth of the business and in this instance surpass those published by other industry leaders. The Cooks Coffee franchise model promotes individual entrepreneurship and local community engagement, which appears to be resonating both with people who want to partner with us to open new sites and existing franchisees looking to grow their businesses through innovative new offerings. Having emerged from the pandemic in a healthy position, the company is now focused on organic growth of the existing network.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen acquires Chelmsford site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub group, is to make its Essex debut. The company has acquired a grade II-listed property in Duke Street, Chelmsford, formerly known as the Anne Knight building, for its 24th site. Renovation starts immediately to add Brewhouse & Kitchen’s copper microbrewery, which will serve the brewpub with a fresh range of craft beer, alongside guest craft beer, gin, wine, whiskies, and a creative beer-based food menu. Managing director Simon Bunn said: “We are delighted to be bringing our Brewhouse & Kitchen concept to Chelmsford. With now more than 40 awards for our own-brewed beer and recognised industry training awards for our apprenticeship programmes, not only do we look forward to making craft beer accessible to all, but we’re also excited to be able to offer some great employment opportunities in the city.”

Diageo acquires Phillippines dark rum brand: Diageo has reached an agreement to acquire Don Papa Rum, a super-premium, dark rum from the Philippines. The upfront consideration is €260m with a further potential consideration of up to €177.5m through to 2028 subject to performance, reflecting the brand’s current growth potential. Diageo stated: “The super-premium plus segment of the rum category is in the early stages of premiumisation, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% in Europe and 27% in the US between 2016-2021. Through the same period, Don Papa Rum consistently outperformed the market in Europe, delivering a 29% CAGR. Launched in 2012 by entrepreneur Stephen Carroll, together with Andrew John Garcia, Don Papa Rum is currently available in 30 countries, with France, Germany and Italy being its largest markets. Don Papa Rum has a unique flavour profile, highly distinctive packaging and an authentic brand story rooted in the beautiful island of Negros Occidental – known locally as ‘Sugarlandia’. The rum is distilled and aged on the island in American oak barrels. The combination of the local sugar cane and the oak barrel ageing in a hot tropical climate provides the foundation for Don Papa Rum’s long, rich-textured finish, which carries flavours of vanilla, honey, and candied fruits.” John Kennedy, president, Diageo Europe and India, said: “We are excited by the opportunity to bring Don Papa into the Diageo portfolio to complement our existing rums. This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands with attractive margins that support premiumisation, and enables us to participate in the fast growing super-premium plus segment.” Carroll added: “Diageo has a strong track record in nurturing founder-led brands. They believe in our unique story and have genuinely embraced our brand idea. We believe this acquisition is a great opportunity to take Don Papa into the next exciting chapter of its development.” Carroll will remain involved with the brand, working alongside Diageo to build on Don Papa Rum’s growth potential. The acquisition will be funded through existing cash reserves and is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

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