Essenden, the ten pin bowling operator, has appointed a new commercial director. Sarah Copley, formerly of Virgin Trains, has joined the group that is led by Nick Basing, chief executive, as it plans to embrace social media and the internet in its bid to boost trade. Yesterday the group, which runs 38 centres, revealed it had seen profit before tax increase by 20% to £1.2m, up from £1m in 2009 and that its like-for-like sales decline was slowing. Commenting on Copley’s appointment, Basing said: “She is first class commercial person and will help us push forward in various channels, including online.” The appointment follows the recruitment last year of Pauline Milner and Alan Hand – two former Paramount Restaurant directors – to its executive team. Milner joined the group as design, development and property director while Hand joined as operations director.