Australian bars boost after 'outstanding' success
February 07, 2002
Pubs group Regent Inns has promised the rapid rollout of more Walkabout bars after its Australian-themed venues produced "outstanding" results.
Regent said it was confident of doubling the number of Walkabout outlets to 50 and introducing more Bar Risa and Jongleurs branded bars.
The London-based company, has a Walkabout Bar in Friar Street, Reading.
Its focus on the two divisions has been further helped by a move to sell 13 unbranded pubs for £8.1 million.
Yesterday's disposal to Broken Foot Inns should also enable Regent to develop a third brand called PALs, currently operating in Ipswich and Croydon.
Underlying profits across the group rose 5.6 per cent to £7.7 million during the six months to December 29, with turnover up 20.1 per cent at £59.3 million.
Walkabout achieved 13.3 per cent like-for-like sales growth, with sporting events including England's World Cup qualifiers boosting
business during the period.
Regent has 27 Walkabout bars following the recent opening of bars at Bristol, City of London, Liverpool, Doncaster, Cardiff and Glasgow.
This is expected to rise to 34 by June, with the target of 50 on course to be met by the end of next year.
Regent also hopes to take its portfolio of Bar Risa/Jongleurs venues from 14 to 20 by 2003.
It said today that trading had picked up since the autumn when the September 11 terrorist attacks depressed bookings of pre-planned party events.
Marketing and promotional campaigns lifted the performance over the Christmas period, with weekly takings at one venue in Watford breaking a Regent record at more than £150,000.
The third brand - the late licensed PALs venues - is likely to be subject to a smallscale rollout this year.
Another four or five outlets are planned, including one in Southend.