Revolution to close its Liverpool venue

03 September 2020 by
Revolution to close its Liverpool venue

Revolution Bars Group, which operates bars under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has confirmed it will permanently close its Liverpool venue and focus on reopening its remaining sites.

The group, which began a phased reopening of its venues on 6 July, made the announcement in its trading update, published today, which reveals figures are "ahead of the board's expectations", with comparable venue sales in the eight weeks to 29 August at 72.5% of last year.

Chief executive Rob Pitcher said the group was pleased to have "outperformed our base-case scenario assumptions". However, sales in the eight weeks since reopening remained 27.5% below last year, despite the uplift in sales from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

In the four weeks until 1 August, comparable venue sales were 60% of last year, but in the last four weeks (to 29 August), during Eat Out to Help Out, comparable sales were 77.5% of last year. The group credited the discount scheme as a "big success", driving August's Monday to Wednesday comparable venue sales to over 188% of last year.

The group reopened 39 bars as of 25 August and confirmed that 10 bars would reopen this week, with a further 13 planned to reopen on 7 September. However, it said 11 bars were unlikely to reopen until social distancing restrictions were relaxed.

The group confirmed it would surrender the lease of Revolutión Liverpool, Cavern Quarter, at the end of the month and would remain focused on reopening venues and reducing costs while trade was "constrained by social distancing restrictions".

Pitcher said he was "grateful" to the support of landlords at 23 of the group's venues for granting rent waivers, but was in ongoing discussions with landlords at 16 sites to reach an "acceptable outcome" before the September quarter date and the end of the rent forfeiture moratorium.

However, he said he was "disappointed" that almost half of the group's landlords had "refused to enter into meaningful discussions at this time".

He added: "We would welcome an indication from government as to their inclination to assist in the grave issues that exist with commercial rental arrears and the moratorium that is due to end on 30 September as well as an indication of further financial support for the late-night venues sector that remains closed by government order."

The bar group has said it will continue to run the Eat Out to Help Out scheme at its own cost throughout September. A preliminary announcement of the group's annual results is expected in November.

In June, the group announced its intention to raise up to £15m by way of share placings.

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