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Revolution Bars says sales ‘well ahead’ of expectations after reopening

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Revolution Bars has reported sales “well ahead” of its expectations since restrictions were fully relaxed in July and the hospitality firm was able to reopen all of its venues.

The group, which also runs the Revolucion de Cuba brand, said sales have risen by 17% for the 11-week period to October 2 against the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

It hailed the recovery as a “strong” performance and reported “good profit generation” over the period as it continued to control costs.

Revolution operates 67 bars across the UK after it shut six sites, with the loss of around 130 jobs, as part of a restructuring following the heavy impact of the pandemic last year.

The company secured £21 million through a fundraise in May and has said it is investing funds to recommence its refurbishment programme across its estate.

It added that the board is confident in its outlook for the rest of the year.

However, it also said it is “cautious” about the potential impact of any further escalation of Covid-19 and of any related restrictions, which could affect key areas of trading, such as corporate Christmas parties.

Revolution Bars Group chief executive Rob Pitcher said the business has seen lower levels of Christmas bookings than usual amid “trepidation” among customers.

“Bookings are down against previous levels but that is not surprising in the circumstances,” he said.

“We are really pleased with how things have been so far but there is inevitably some uncertainty still, and some trepidation from customers making long-term bookings.”

He added that the company has not yet increased prices but expects some inflation for customers amid rises in utility costs, VAT levels on food and soft drinks, and wages.

Mr Pitcher said: “We spent the lockdown periods working extremely hard to refine and enhance our brand propositions with a key focus on heightening guest experience.

“As a result, it is extremely encouraging to see we have capitalised on the pent-up demand we predicted, which has been reflected in excellent trading so far this year.

“We are therefore confident in the group’s outlook, assuming that there are no further restrictions on our ability to trade.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of our colleagues for their hard work during what has been a hugely challenging period.”

Shares in the company jumped by 15.5% to 26p in early trading on Thursday.

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