Conviviality results: Brexit won't slow us down

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

18 July 2016

Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter has said the current political and economic turmoil surrounding the UK's departure from the EU won't curb its ambitious expansion plans.

Speaking to Imbibe, Hunter – who has steered the alcohol wholesaler and Bargain Booze-owner through October’s £200m purchase of Matthew Clark and May’s £60m purchase of leading wine and spirits company Bibendum PLB – said the business was now more resilient and able to weather hard economic times.

Earlier today Conviviality reported revenue growth of 137% to £864.5m to 1 May, in its first full-year results since the acquisitions.

'We have gone from a business that had revenues of £360m to a business that has revenues of £1.4bn,' she said. 'We have a span across the on- and off-trade. We have 23,000 outlets we serve, 716 retail outlets, and we're served by over 400 suppliers. I think we're in a really good position.

'If you take wine alone, we have over 6,500 SKUs. We can help ourselves and our customers by balancing range and assortment that can kind of mitigate any risk of price variations. We have good strategic relations with our suppliers. We'll be able to thrive in this market.'

Though Hunter confirmed the business was not considering any specific acquisitions at the current time, she said plans to grow would not be halted by the unstable economic climate.

'We haven’t got anything on our list right now, but we will keep an active eye on the market,' she said. 'Everybody is clear that in the off-trade, there will be some further consolidation at some point. We continually monitor both the off-trade and the on-trade. And we just take the opportunities as they arise. I don't think Brexit will change the way we run our business.'

She added that the focus for Conviviality at the moment was on the continued integration of the businesses, including group logistics. Conviviality is currently assessing whether next-day delivery is viable across the business. Matthew Clarke currently offers a next-day delivery service.

'What is really, really important to us is that we continue the progress we have made, that we deliver the benefits we have said we'll deliver from our acquisitions, and that we continue … to deliver excellent customer service to our customers,' she said. 'It’s been an incredibly positive year for us.'

See the September-October 2016 issue of Imbibe for a full interview with Hunter.

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