Bargain Booze owner sees profits fizz

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BARGAIN Booze owner Conviviality Retail, has reported a surge in half year profits and a positive festive trading peformance.

The Crewe-based group, the country’s argest franchised off-licence and convenience chain with 599 stores,  said profits in the 26 weeks to October 26 rose 46.7% to £3.2m on flat sales of £182.9m.  

Sales over the Christmas holiday period, the  two weeks to January 4,  were up 2.6% above last year.

Bargain Booze, which aims to be 10% cheaper than the big supermarkets, said it had invested significantly in its warehouse and logistics function in the period.

In the last few months Conviviality has launched a brand refresh, giving many of its stores a new look. So far more than  50% of stores have had a new fascia.  The company said its expansion plans for Scotland, through a trial with Scotmid, is “progressing well”
 
Chief executive Diana Hunter said: “I am pleased with our first half year results which are in line with our expectations in a highly competitive market. Despite closures of underperforming stores in the period and the integration of the Rhythm and Booze units, sales have been maintained and store numbers have started to grow as we open higher quality outlets.

“This has led to increased profits for both the company and its franchisees. We now have a solid platform from which to accelerate Franchisee growth, our pilot with Scotmid demonstrates the potential for Bargain Booze to expand throughout the UK, and with our strong balance sheet we have the ability to exploit growth opportunities as they arise.”

An interim dividend of 2p per share was declared.

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