Bargain Booze owner reports strong Christmas

20 January, 2014

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail enjoyed a strong Christmas trading period as like-for-like franchisee retail sales grew 2.8% in the two weeks to January 5.

Conviviality said sales also rose by 21.8% at Wine Rack, the group it bought in September 2013.

The group released sales figures for the first half of the year, showing that store closures resulted in a 5.2% dip in overall sales to £261.9 million in the six months to October 27, 2013.

However the remaining stores enjoyed a strong six months, with like-for-like sales up 1.5%.

Chief executive Diana Hunter said: “We are pleased to announce our first half year results as a listed company in what has been a period of considerable change for the business, highlighted by our AIM listing on 31 July 2013.

“Throughout the first half we have implemented our strategy to improve the quality of our store estate and build stronger relationships with our franchisees and suppliers. We acquired the Wine Rack business on 30 August 30, increasing focus on our wine offering and penetrating further into the south of England.

“As anticipated store numbers and therefore revenues have reduced in the first half of this financial year, this reduction is in line with our expectations and is consistent with our aim of improving the quality of our store estate. Work is underway to build a strong pipeline of new stores in higher quality locations for both Bargain Booze and Wine Rack and convert this pipeline to drive sales growth in future years.”

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “The interim results from Conviviality Retail today are depressed by the short-term impact of the overhaul of the franchisee base, but the improving quality of the core stores shows up in some solid Christmas trading numbers.”

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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