No Saints fuels aggressive expansion with £2.1m investment

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nightclub

No Saints plans on having 75 sites by 2016
No Saints plans on having 75 sites by 2016
No Saints, the burgeoning bar and restaurant operator run by Luminar Leisure founder Stephen Thomas, has secured a £2.1m injection from investment vehicle Hotbed to continue its aggressive expansion.

Coinciding with the launch of No Saints’ fifth venue The Greene Room in Milton Keynes, the funding will aid the group to continue its rapid expansion of several key brands.

They include three varieties of the Wonder format – Wonder Lounge, Wonder Land and Wonder Years.

Cocktail bar concept Wonder Lounge will launch in Banbury in July, with further sites pegged for Woking and Sevenoaks.

No Saints’ Wonder Land nightclub will launch in Sutton, while a site is still being sought for the group’s first Wonder Years retro disco bar.

Seventy-five venue plan

The group is expected to launch up to 10 sites under the Wonder format before the end of the year, but aims to operate 75 venues in total within the next five years.

Its next venue to launch will be a radical re-launch of 1980s brand the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory in Bristol, before a proposed second site for the Greene Room in Cambridge.

Russell Pope, chief investment officer at Hotbed, said: “Stephen Thomas has fantastic experience in the leisure industry. That experience is already paying dividends in ensuring that No Saints can acquire venues at particularly favourable rents because landlords have the confidence that they will be long-term, stable tenants.

“As a result, No Saints is making good progress in its roll-out. Existing investors have been keen to take advantage of the rights issue, and we are pleased to be able to offer more investor members the opportunity to get involved in an attractive sector in which, traditionally, good concepts often get snapped up quickly by the major players.”

Music venues

The investment follows an initial £3m funding from Hotbed investors in May 2010, after which No Saints acquired the Jam House, the live music venues in Edinburgh and Birmingham created in collaboration with Jools Holland.

No Saints has also recently taken on a former Barracuda Bar in Derby, which is believed to have doubled sales in its first two weeks since reopening.

Thomas said: “The traditional nightlife scene is growing up. Mass drinking venues may be suffering but there is still unmet demand, especially amongst a slightly older age group, for nights out that offer a sense of occasion and fill the gap that exists outside London between bar and nightclub.

“While other operators are tied up by existing leases and still repairing the financial damage caused by the recession, No Saints is able to move quickly to find the best venues for this audience at depressed prices and invest in getting the right mix of entertainment, food and drink to draw them in.”

In addition to the Jam House, No Saints hopes to open a chain of both live and recorded music venues aimed at 20 to 30 year olds under the Arena brand – a flexible format that will reduce the number of non-trading nights. It is also looking to acquire a number of smaller nightclubs that are more suited to a lower footfall but stable spend per head.

Related topics: Business, Restaurants, Pubs & Bars, Venues

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