Bargain Booze pledges to lead fight-back on fraudsters

Bargain Booze has pledged to step up its lobbying profile on duty fraud.

Acting managing director Keith Webb has called on the government to clamp down on black market traders.

“Our plan is to step up the intensity of our activity in this area over the coming months, in the run-up to Christmas trading period,” said Webb.

“We’re lobbying for a fairer deal for independent licensed retailers by urging the government to take a tougher stance on duty fraud, which is hitting law-abiding and hard-working shop owners in the pocket.

“We are calling for a level playing field by encouraging a clampdown on fraudsters who trade on the black market and sell alcohol untaxed and unregulated at criminal prices.”

The call came as Bargain Booze announced record annual sales in its latest accounts at Companies House.

Turnover for the year to April 30 stood at £395 million, up from £381 million in the previous year.

The figures reflect the wholesale prices at which Bargain Booze sells to its franchisees. At retail value, the group’s sales – excluding services such as Pay Point and the National Lottery – were £557 million.

Pre-tax profit for the year on whole- sale activities fell from £12.4 million to just under £11.5 million.

Webb said: “We have made good progress during the current year and are investing in all areas of the business to improve the efficiency of our operations and the backing we provide to our franchisees.

“The steady growth of our revenue over the past few years highlights the strength and resilience of our business model, which is underpinned by competitive buying and first class support for our franchisees across merchandising, marketing and business development.”

The company operates stores under the Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Plus, Bargain Booze Select Convenience, Select Convenience, Thorougoods and Thorougoods Select Convenience fascias.

It recently announced a franchisee recruitment drive in Yorkshire, spearheaded by “super-franchisee” Martin Swaine, ex-boss of Rhythm & Booze.

Related articles: