Baa Bar sets growth target

Liverpool-based Baa Bar Group said it wants to double the number of outlets from 10 to 20 in the next five years.

The trend-setting bar operator celebrates 21 years of trading this year. Turnover last year was around £11m.

The group's tenth venue, in Victoria Street in Liverpool, opened this year, joining existing sites in Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham. The original Baa Bar is on Fleet Street in Liverpool and formed part of the Liverpool Palace, Urban Splash's first development. Urban Splash bosses were for a time shareholders of Baa Bar before exiting when it listed in Guernsey in 2006. Baa Bar de-listed in 2010 and is privately owned.

As well as seven existing Baa Bars the group operates Modo in Liverpool's Concert Square, Bumper on Hardman Street, Liverpool and the Oxnoble in Manchester's Liverpool Road.

The brand will open bars in Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham this year.

Elaine ClarkeElaine Clarke, chief executive, has been with the group throughout, starting as bar manager.

She said: "A lot has changed in the industry in 21 years and we've seen it all. At the time we opened, bars just didn't have the popularity in the North as they did in the South, but we spotted an emerging trend and went for it. Since then, the bar scene has changed the night-time economy dramatically.

"In a climate where pubs and bars are under significant strain, we're incredibly proud to have achieved all we have so far and to be still expanding 21 years down the line. Baa Bar's growth over the past two decades been organic but it has now developed into a very strategic expansion."

Baa Bar's chairman is Richard O'Sullivan, who founded and rolled out the Millie's Cookies chain. He is also chairman of Boost Juice bars and Mexican-style restaurant chain, Barburrito. He joined Baa Bar's board in 2006.

O'Sullivan said: "I joined the board in 2006 shortly after the business had been floated. It's a credit to the team and our customer loyalty that Baa Bar has proven to be so resilient through the last four years of economic challenge. This is also in no small measure down to the support of Yorkshire Bank who continued to show faith in us, despite the constant challenges faced by the sector.

"We aim to double the number of operations to 20 venues over the next five years, maintaining our independent feel while opening in new cities where our customers are keen to see us."

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By John Jay

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