Conviviality Retail, owner of the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack brands, is projecting a modest growth in income for the financial year, according to its latest trading update.
Revenues for the year ending 26 April 2015 are expected to reach £364m, compared to £355.7m in the previous year. Like-for-like retail sales at Bargain Booze were down 1.7%, with underlying retail sales per store increasing by 0.5%, reflecting “an improvement in the quality of the portfolio”, the statement said. Like-for-like sales at Wine Rack were up 0.1%.
The company reported that performance was affected by “phasing of new store openings being later than expected in the year and the continued heavy discounting and competition in the market”. During the year, 21 existing franchisees opening additional stores and 35 new franchisees joined the group, including Jonathan James who took over 37 former GT News stores in February after a £6m purchase, with the majority of these to be franchised as Bargain Booze. Conviviality added that it has “a good pipeline of stores and opportunities to deliver during 2015-16”.
Chief executive Diana Hunter said: “2014-15 has been a year of solid progress for Conviviality and we are pleased with everything that has been achieved. The significant changes we have implemented over the last two years ensure we are well positioned to drive growth into the business and the board looks to the future with confidence. I would like to recognise the excellent collaboration of all of our employees, our franchisees and suppliers in helping drive this solid performance.”
At the same time, the group announced the appointment of Carol Savage to the new position of chief customer officer. The company will officially announce its preliminary results on 13 July 2015.