Revolution CEO calls Government actions towards wet-led sites scandalous

Revolution Bars Group plc has reported preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 27 June 2020 as its CEO rages against how the Government has not supported wet-led pubs and bars.

This leading UK operator of 74 premium bars (at 27 June 2020 - currently operates 67), trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, saw Total revenue of £110.1, down from £151.4m in FY19. The figure was unsurprisingly low as the group's bars were closed throughout the last 14 weeks of the trading period.

During the period, the company showed adjusted EBITDA of £9.8m, which was down from £11.1m in FY19. Adjusted Loss Before Tax of £3.9m compared to a profit of £3m in FY19, and Statutory Loss Before Tax of £31.7m (FY19: £5.6m) after £21.9m of exceptional items (FY19: £7.1m).

The firm showed improved performance in the first half, followed by strong trading over the first 10 weeks of the second half of FY20 ,with like-for-like sales up 1.6% with growth in both brands.

Swift action was taken by the Board to significantly improve the financial liquidity available to the business and to minimise the cash burn rate in response to the pandemic

There were six loss-making bars that exited through lease surrenders during the period.

CEO Rob Pitcher said, '2020 has been an immensely challenging year but I am incredibly proud of the dedication shown by our team to steer us through this period.

'Prior to the onset of the pandemic we were reaping the rewards of the workstreams we introduced last year to improve performance with both brands in like-for-like sales growth, out-performing our High Street Bars peer group. We also continued to see strong results from our refurbishment programme.

'This work, combined with our focus on the customer experience through the development of our App, order and pay at table, and our on-line booking systems, and the additional financial strength and flexibility we have secured through the actions taken since the COVID pandemic hit the UK gives me great confidence that we are well placed to recover and return to growth once trading restrictions are removed.'

Pitcher went on, 'The UK Government's actions towards wet-led bars and late-night hospitality are nothing short of scandalous. It has little evidence to justify the severe restrictions that have been imposed and it is deliberately sacrificing businesses and people's livelihoods.

'The recent grants of £1,000 per pub as compensation for being deprived of our most important trading period is derisory and insulting, and underlines a complete lack of understanding of the costs associated with businesses of this nature (even when they are shut) or any sympathy for the consequences of their inept decisions.'

Pitcher concluded, 'The next few months will continue to be challenging and entirely dependent on imposed operating restrictions. Further meaningful government support will be required to help safeguard the industry and avoid further job losses, particularly for young people.

'However, given the actions we have taken to secure the future of the business, I am confident that Revolution will emerge from this crisis as a more focused business, and in a strong position relative to our competition, ready to seize any opportunities that arise.''