Today Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail revealed it is looking to float on the Alternative Investment Market for £65m. Retail Week takes a look at the group.

  • Conviviality Retail, which was known as Bargain Booze Holdings until last week, owns cut price off-licence chain Bargain Booze and convenience store chain Thorougoods.
  • The group, which is located mainly in the north, operates 611 stores that are owned by 461 franchisees. It has two central distribution warehouses in Crewe and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
  • The Bargain Booze brand is the most dominant in the group with 198 Bargain Booze stores, and 246 Bargain Booze Plus stores which offer convenience food in addition to its off-licence. In 2007 it increased its convenience offer under the Bargain Booze Select Convenience fascia to provide another route to market. This has now grown to 122 franchised stores.
  • It also operates 45 stores through its Thorougoods and Thorougoods Select Convenience fascias, which are driven by convenience, tobacco and news alongside alcohol, although these products are not as discounted as Bargain Booze.
  • In the next three years it will consolidate its fascias to operate under Bargain Booze or Bargain Booze Select Convenience.
  • Former Waitrose business unit director of convenience Diana Hunter was appointed chief executive in February to drive group growth over the next three years.
  • Bargain Booze was founded by Allan Whittle and Robert Mayor in 1979 as a wine and spirits wholesaler. The first store opened in 1981 in Sandbach, Cheshire but all subsequent stores were launched through franchises.
  • The retailer has swapped hands numerous times. In 2000 it was bought by wholesale group BWG in 2000, which was bought out by Electra Partners in 2002 and in 2006 it was the subject of a management buyout backed by ECI Partners.
  • The decision to float the company comes two years after ECI unsuccessfully put its 75% stake in the business up for sale.
  • In the year to April 30 sales fell 6% to £372m, while EBITDA hit £12.5m.
  • Its board features non-executive chairman Roger Pedder, longstanding chief financial officer Peter Hodgson, franchise director Keith Webb and former Jessops chairman David Adams, who is a non-executive.