Group behind Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands buys £30m pub chain but train strikes hit sales

The group behind the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba bar brands has acquired a pub chain for £16.5m.

Manchester-headquartered Revolution Bars Group has snapped up Peach Pub Company which runs 21 venues and is expected to turnover £30m for its current financial year.

The company has sites across the South of England, including in Bristol, and the Midlands while its operations team, led by Chris Stagg, are to remain in place.

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On the deal, Revolution Bars Group CEO Rob Pitcher said: “This is an exciting and transformative opportunity for Revolution.

“It broadens our guest base, balances our day part sales and seasonality whilst providing another avenue for growth both organically and by acquisition.

“Peach is a quality business with great pubs offering a premium experience. It has rebounded strongly from the dark days of the pandemic.

Revolution Bars Group is headquartered in Manchester
Revolution Bars Group is headquartered in Manchester
(Image: Revolution)

“Central to this success has been a strong people focused culture with clear values that are focused on making the right choices for guests and our teams, a very similar approach to that taken at Revolution.

“We welcome the Peach team to Revolution where they can continue their excellent work delighting guests and seek continued personal development in a business with a multi-pronged strategy that has similar values, ambition, and drive for excellence, which Peach has clearly displayed over the last 20 years.

“I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work of Lee Cash, Hamish Stoddart and Jo Eames, as the founders of Peach, for creating an industry leading collection of premium gastro pubs.”

The deal comes as Revolution Bars Group published its results for the year to July 2, 2022.

The listed group posted a revenue of £140.8m for the year, up from £39.4m in the prior Covid-disrupted 12 months.

The group also returned to the black with a £2.1m pre-tax profit after making a £26.2m loss last year.

On its outlook, it added that the first two periods of its new financial year were “challenging” with footfall disrupted by train and tube strikes, heatwaves, resurgence in festivals and events, and people going abroad for their first holidays in three years.

Revolution bar Deansgate Locks
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks were down 10% with city bars bearing the brunt of transport strikes.

The next two weeks improved to like-for like sales down 4.5%, aided by the return of students and gradual end of summer holidays, giving first quarter like-for-like sales of -9.1%, “showing trading was still impacted by continued disruption of footfall into cities due to the ongoing train strikes”.

Mr Pitcher said: “We are hugely encouraged by the performance in FY22, seeing what trade and performance can look like under normal trading conditions with our better-invested estate.

“The new sites and the significant number of refurbishments delivered in the year put the group in an exciting position for growth in the future.

“That we have been in a position to restart our growth strategy is a testament to the hard work of our people and the positive growth we have seen in the last year.

“Like all hospitality businesses, we are facing significant challenges and urge the Government to deliver the promised reform of the business rates and support all high street businesses through these extraordinary times with an immediate 50% business rates cut for all business no matter of size.

Revolution bar
(Image: ChronicleLive)

“Additionally, a cut in the headline rate of VAT to help lower the cost impact would assist in reducing further price rises, without which price rises are inevitable, further feeding inflationary pressures.

“We remain focused on delivering great value and providing good times for our guests and are very mindful of the pressures they are experiencing. Having said that, our young adult guest base are somewhat protected from the ongoing cost pressures and continue to prioritise experiences and their freedom.

“I am incredibly proud of what our people have achieved over recent years; we have made great progress with advancements of our brand offerings, our “Inclusion Revolution”, sustainability agenda, guest journey, and wellbeing and support of our colleagues. We have created exciting work streams which focus on value-creation and developing the group for the future.

“Looking forwards, we are focused on navigating the current macro-economic situation, developing our business, and putting in place further building blocks for continued growth.”

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