Bar group returns to profit after ‘transformational’ year

Smash Reading

Losses have been turned into a profit at leading bar operator The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier Company after a “transformational” year.

The group, formerly Eclectic Bars, today reported that last year’s pre-tax loss of £500,000 has become a £900,000 pre-tax profit for the 12 months to June 26 this year. Revenue remained relatively flat at £22.6m.

The transformation follows a diversification of the business into more leisure-based activities such as ping pong bar Smash in Reading (pictured) while continuing to run bars and clubs around the country such as Lola Lo, Po Na Na, Sakura, Lowlander and Dirty Blonde.

In April, the group changed its name after a reverse takeover of The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier Company, the landmark visitor attraction and entertainment venue.

Chairman Luke Johnson said: “This has been a transformational year for the group. The acquisition of The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier Company, and the operational and financial improvement made within our bars division, mean the group is well positioned to drive the growth of our business.

“Our ambition is to become a leading, experience-led attractions business in the UK. I believe we now have the right group structure and experienced management team to deliver that ambition.”

The Eclectic Bars division contributed £2.3m towards earnings (EBITDA) during the period. The group’s EBITDA increased by 28% to £2.3m.

The bars benefited from rising numbers of students midweek, an increased number of student nights, a student loyalty card and generally improved midweek sales. There was also a full-year benefit from a single drinks supply contract that was renegotiated the previous year.

In its statement, the group said it remained committed to developing its bars alongside the Brighton Pier business. “In terms of the Bars division, the group will continue to focus on providing quality service and delivery in respect of the group’s existing sites whilst also continuing to rationalise the estate, dispose of underperforming sites, and target developments and acquisitions when opportunities arise.

“The long-term strategy of the enlarged group is to capitalise on the skills of both the Bars and the Pier divisions to create a growth company operating across a diverse portfolio of experiential leisure and entertainment assets in the UK.

“The group will achieve this objective by way of organic revenue growth across the whole estate, together with the active pursuit of future potential strategic acquisitions of experiential leisure and entertainment destinations, enhancing the group’s portfolio to realise synergies by leveraging scale.”

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