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Hartford Group hits acquisition trail

10 June 2004
Hartford Group hits acquisition trail

Hartford Group has gone on the acquisition trail now that two years of restructuring have moved it back into profitability, the London-based bars group said today.

The group, which is behind the Jamies Bars brand, posted half-year results to 10 April showing a pre-tax profit of £148,000, a turnaround from a loss of £282,000 at the same point last year.

Turnover was £6.1m, the same as the year before.

Chairman Stephen Thomas said: "Hartford has continued to improve the performance of its existing estate, moved into profit and is looking to expand organically and through selective acquisition."

To this end the company had signed contracts to buy three sites in central London, including Hodgsons wine bar in Chancery Lane.

The purchase of the other two sites, in the City, was expected to be completed this month, Thomas added.

The key to the turnaround has been a rationalisation and restructuring plan focused on better buying, cost control and improved training, he said.

This has included a company-wide IT overhaul and the on-going renovation of its Jamies Bars sites, including minor work on a number of its City bars, the refurbishment of its Jamies Bar in Bishopsgate and conversion of the former Jamies site at West Smithfield to a Heads & Tails bar, which opened in February.

During the six-month period, Hartford spent £359,000 on capital expenditure, compared with £397,000 in the equivalent period last year.

Since the end of the period, sales had been up 4.1 % on a like-for-like basis, added Thomas.

by Nic Paton

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