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Oddbins losses halve as turnover in England rises 10%

Published:  31 March, 2015

Oddbins saw turnover increase nearly 10% in England in the last 12 months, as it makes headway towards profitability.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, Whittalls Wine Merchants 1 Ltd (which trades as Oddbins) saw turnover rise 9.58% to £11.42m in the 12 months to 31 January. Although it returned an operating loss of £496,610, this was around half recorded loss of the previous year, at -£912,049m. Operating profit was stable at 29%, up from 28% in 2013, it said.

Net liabilities rose 24% to £2.557m, versus 2013, and the company confirmed it was still dependent on its parent company, European Food Brokers and fellow subsidiaries.

However, the directors said they were "satisfied" with the overall performance, despite difficult trading conditions. "The company is confident of its prospects in the future and has firm strategies in place to generate value for all its shareholders," it said.

Oddbin's Scottish operation, which is filed under a separate company, Whittalls Wine Merchants 2, saw turnover down 0.08% with operating profit down 38.56% to -£166,824.

Oddbins is in talks with 26 independent wine mercahnts across the country about them joining the business as franchisees. If all goes ahead, the change will take place in February 2015.

However managing director Ayo Akintola told this drop was due to Oddbins not renewing one of its leases and traded in one less branch in 2014, compared to the previous financial year. "This being the case, we traded strong enough across the remaining stores that the material impact of was sales down by circa £5k with a bottom line improvement of circa 35% on previous financial year," he said.

He added that EFB held significant cash balances and has zero gearing.

Oddbins was bought out of administration by Raj Chatha's European Food Brokers in 2011 and currently operates around 54 stores. Akintola, who said at the time he intended to be back in profit by 2014/15, plans to grow to around 100 company-owned stores and 200 franchises. The franchised model is expected to kick off by converting around 26 independent wine merchants to the company fascia.