Bars chain Yates boosted by successful makeover

Yates, the bars group that is overhauling its outdated faux-Victoriana image, yesterday revealed further evidence that its turnaround strategy was working with a rise in underlying group sales.

The company, which is catapulting its core Yates's estate into the 21st century with a dramatic makeover, said group like-for-like sales rose 2.6 per cent in the 10 weeks to 14 March, accelerating from a 0.2 per cent rise over Christmas. Its 98 new look Yates's bars also improved faster than before, with underlying sales 5.3 per cent stronger.

Analysts were split over whether to toast yesterday's trading update as marking a new start for the company. Andrew Saunders, at Numis Securities, said the sales increase "suggested a new momentum has returned to the business.... We believe the latest data shows the company has turned the corner."

But Arbuthnot's Alan Millar disagreed, saying: "The outlook for high street bars operators still looks challenging and Yates still looks likely to be a victim."

Yates's shares, which have doubled in the past 12 months, rose 3.5p to 102.5p.

Mark Jones, who has overseen the recovery since joining as chief executive 18 months ago, said the "suicidal promotions" that the industry had to resort to last year to attract customers had died down, although Sunday to Thursday was still tough.

Yates said the rise in sales meant its preliminary pre-tax profits before exceptionals would be at the "top end of our expectations". Mr Saunders, who predicted that the shares were due a re-rating, is forecasting profits before tax of £10.3m.

The group said it would take a £500,000 hit to cover its decision to outsource its warehousing and to axe about one in five of its 130 jobs at its head office. The move is expected to save an annualised £500,000, starting from its next financial year. The charge is in addition to a £5.9m exceptional cost to cover an anticipated loss on the 11 underperforming sites that it is seeking to sell. Of the 11 units - none of which was suitable to be converted to its new-look format - the company said it had sold three and was close to selling another three.

Group like-for-like sales for the year to 14 March fell 2.8 per cent, with the 15 remaining old-look Yates's behind the slide: their underlying sales were 3.9 per cent lower against a 1.7 per cent increase for the year at the refurbished sites. Its food-driven Ha!Ha! Bar & Canteen chain, which is being rolled out across the country, fared better, with like-for-like sales up 3.7 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee