Revolution Bars Group achieved EBITDA of £12.2m in the 26 weeks to 1 January 2022, just shy of the £12.8m it achieved two years previously.

The group enjoyed strong trading after restrictions were released on 19 July 2021, and like-for-like sales between then and 13 November 2021 were +14% ahead of the comparable period in FY20, aided by the return of students and office workers, staycations and investment in the business.

Overall, comparable like-for-like sales for the half year period remained positive at +1.4%.

Additional restrictions over Christmas led to a sales slump for the six-weeks to 1 January of -23%.

Since Plan B restrictions ended, the business saw positive like-for-like sales of 6% in February.

The group posted a profit before tax of £4.3m, versus a loss of £17.7m the previous year, and a loss of £1.6m in 2019.

Successful net proceeds of £34m from equity fundraisings, as well as positive cash generation from trade, have allowed the refurbishment programme and new site acquisitions to begin in the financial year.

Capex of £2.4m was spent during the period across four refurbishments, the new concepts, and other planned capital expenditure.

An additional five refurbishments have been completed the financial year so far, with 19 in total expected to be completed.

The company said it was confident the refurbed sites would achieve their two-year payback targets.

Net bank debt reduced from £21m at January 2021 to £4.2m at January 2022.

Revolution launched two new concepts - Founders & Co., an artisanal market-place experience, and Playhouse, a competitive socialising concept launched in November 2021.

The first new bar lease was signed since 2018, with two new openings targeted this year and six next year.

The company launched the “Rev U” training academy, including new career pathways for all operational roles.

The group became an above-minimum wage paying employer in a bid to attract and retain the best talent in the industry.

Its cocktail menu is now carbon neutral, aided by the removal of passionfruit which saves approximately 100 tonnes of carbon and provides a significant reduction in waste, alongside our other industry-leading initiatives.

The board said it was confident of delivering adjusted EBITDA (on an IAS 17 basis) towards the top end of the range of market expectations, currently between £8-10m, assuming that the Covid-19 landscape does not significantly deteriorate.

Rob Pitcher, chief executive, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the performance in FY22 H1 and are excited about the future as we all now ‘learn to live’ with Covid-19. We are emerging strongly following a period of severe disruption and now believe that, assuming no further variants, we can look forward to a sustained period of growth.

“We continue to urge the Government to support the recovery and rebuilding of the hospitality industry by leaving VAT at 12.5% for food and non-alcoholic beverages and retaining business rates relief at current levels, in-particular maintaining the cap at £2m, not reducing it to £110,000.

“Demonstrating our renewed confidence, we have signed our first new lease since 2018, have a pipeline of opportunities, and several amazing refurbishments taking place. There’s never been a more exciting time for the group.”