Novus Leisure, which operates 52 bars predominantly in London's West End and City district, said it would deliver year-on-year profit growth of 20% after a strong performance in the festive period.
Novus said it saw an 18% increase in like-for-like sales from 21 November to 1 January compared with the same period last year. It attributed the performance to the draw of its online marketing portal www.latenightlondon.com, which enabled it to drive pre-booked corporate parties and take an "extensive" share of the 25-35 young professional market, as well as a good performance by the recently-acquired Balls Brothers.
The company also pointed to a positive like-for-like performance in 2010 despite the snow, meaning that on a two-year view including last year's snow-affected period it had delivered like-for-like festive performance of 26%.
Overall, Christmas and New Year trading for 2011/12 saw overall group sales rise 34%, with 78% of group Christmas revenue generated from online and pre-bookings. Meanwhile, New Year sales in Balls Brothers bars were up 311%.
Regional bars, including Novus's Tiger Tiger branded bars also performed well, with sales up 18%.
Steve Richards, chief executive of Novus Leisure, said: "This year we spent a lot of time enhancing our corporate party packages, which enabled us to increase prices but maintain value in what is a very tough market, our advanced bookings were substantially up on last year, as was spend per head. I'm particularly pleased with the progress and turnaround in performance achieved with the ‘Balls Brothers' restaurants and bars acquired in April 2011. We have refreshed and remodelled the bars under the ‘Exchange' format and both old and new customers have responded very positively and the bars have delivered exceptional growth.
"We enter an Olympic year for which we already have significant advanced bookings. London will continue to be a buoyant market for our customer demographic and we will also benefit from a full contribution from the Balls Brothers acquisition. This, together with a focused team and well invested venues, makes us look forward with confidence to another year of profitable progress."
By Neil Gerrard
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