Revolution Bars to shut eight sites as cost of living hits young customers

Revolution Bars Group has announced the closure of eight of its sites across England after blaming the cost of living crisis for hitting the spending power of its younger customers.

Chief executive Rob Pitcher said the upcoming rise in the National Living Wage in April from £10.42 an hour to £11.44 had also pushed the business to shutter the 'unprofitable' bars.

Revolution Bars Group plans to close several of its establishments, including those in Beaconsfield, Derby, Reading, St Peters Liverpool, and Wilmslow. The company intends to provide affected staff with alternative roles within the business.

In addition to the Revolution bars, Revolución de Cuba venues in Sheffield and Southampton, along with the Playhouse gaming bar in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, are also set to close.

Following the closures, Revolution Bars Group will maintain operations at 58 bars and 22 pubs, including the Peach Pubs portfolio acquired for £16.5m in 2022.

Negotiations for five of the eight bars had already begun for them to be transferred to other operators or their leases rescinded.

The announcement comes after Revolution reported its best festive trading period since 2019, with group like-for-like sales in December up 9%.

However, it said half-year sales showed an improving trend but were still 2.8% down across the six months to the end of December.

Pitcher said: 'We have had the best festive trading period for four years with all of our brands recording positive like for like sales and Revolución de Cuba being the standout performer.

'However, 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.

'Therefore, we have taken the difficult yet ultimately beneficial step for the group to close several bars which are unprofitable.'

He added: 'Our teams do a terrific job in making guests welcome and giving them a great experience and again we have demonstrated that when our customer base can afford to do so, they are choosing to celebrate with us, and we have delivered record levels of guest satisfaction.

'This should bode well for the future.'