Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail has posted surging full-year profits despite a fall in sales due to store closures.
In its first set of full-year results since it listed on the stock exchange in July 2013, the group posted a 31.5% surge in pre-tax profit to £9.3m in the year to April 27, 2014.
Sales fell to £355.7m from £371.8m the previous year, which Conviviality said was in line with its store rationalisation programme. EBITDA slipped to £12.4m from £12.6m in 2013.
Conviviality said group like-for-likes inched up 0.05% in the year, while Wine Rack like-for-likes jumped 1.4% in the second half after the group acquired it in August last year.
Conviviality chief executive Diana Hunter said: “These are strong results achieved during a period of significant change for our business and we are making good progress to deliver our strategy.
“We are seeing the benefits of a stronger relationship with our franchise partners, and many of our franchisees have seen their profits improve as a result. We have a significant opportunity ahead and we are confident that the foundations we have put in place this year will deliver further improvements for our company, our franchise partners and investors.”
Some 62 underperforming stores closed in the year, which impacted turnover (£15.7m). Conviviality ended the year with 595 stores, which was 11 down on its goal after it opened fewer than expected.
In the year it also began a Bargain Booze brand refresh, already reaching 182 stores. At year-end it had 427 franchisees against 461 in 2013. Meanwhile, since year-end it has bought 31 Rhythm and Booze stores.
Conviviality also revealed franchisee director Keith Webb has resigned “for personal reasons” and will leave the business on August 29.
In the current financial year Conviviality plans to improve Wine Rack’s online offer, develop click-and-collect and create a Bargain Booze app. It also wants to trial a larger format store and update its fascias across its store estate.
Chairman David Adams said: “We believe that our results as a listed company reflect delivery of the strategy and actions we set out clearly in the admission document. Our trading performance has been in line with our expectations, we have made acquisitions and there exist strong opportunities for future growth.”