Buzz People

Bargain Booze firm Conviviality close to administration

Conviviality, the owner of Bargain Booze, has announced plans to file for administration within two weeks.
The firm also owns Wine Rack and supplies more than 25,000 restaurants, hotels and bars.
Earlier this month it shocked investors with a profit warning and news of an unpaid £30m tax bill. It attempted to raise £125m to rescue the business, but this week said that effort had failed.
Conviviality employs about 2,500 staff and their jobs are now in jeopardy.
One of its most important customers is the JD Wetherspoon pub chain. Conviviality supplies all the wine and spirits to 900 Wetherspoon pubs - a contract worth tens of millions of pounds a year.
Wetherspoon said that at the moment deliveries are continuing and it has contingency plans if those supplies are disrupted.
Despite reassurance from Conviviality that it will continue to trade, the British Beer and Pub Association said the situation is "causing concern" for pubs as Conviviality is such a significant supplier.

'Fallen short'

Earlier this month, Conviviality slashed its forecast for underlying earnings this year to £55m from £70m.
Just days later, on 14 March, it revealed a £30m tax bill that had to be paid by the end of the month.
Those revelations prompted the resignation of chief executive Diana Hunter, who had been in charge since 2013, the year Conviviality listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Under her leadership the company expanded rapidly.
Its core business had been selling popular alcohol brands at rock bottom prices, but in 2015 Ms Hunter took the firm into the wholesaling of drinks with the purchase of Matthew Clark.
It also went upmarket with the purchase of wine specialist Bibendum.
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