Bargain Booze

Bargain Booze is a chain of off licence shops, that operates in the United Kingdom.[1] Established in 1981 in Sandbach, it grew to 836 shops and established the Bargain Booze Select Convenience shop franchise.[1][2]

Bargain Booze
TypePrivately held company
Founded1981; 40 years ago (1981)
HeadquartersCrewe, Cheshire,
United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Bargain Booze, Pudsey, Leeds (2009)

From 2013 to April 2018, it was owned by Conviviality plc, who also owned the Wine Rack chain. Both brands were acquired by Bestway on 6 April 2018.[3]


The company originates from a wholesale wine and spirits business, founded by Allan Whittle and Robert Mayor.[4] In 1981, they opened their first retail outlet in Sandbach, Cheshire.[5] The first Bargain Booze franchise opened in 1988, and was the first time the Bargain Booze fascia was used.[6][7]

In January 2000, Whittle & Mayor sold the company to BWG Foods. In July 2002, BWG was bought out by Electra Partners.[4] A management buyout backed by a private equity firm, ECI Partners, took over the company for £63.5 million in 2006.[8] Until July 2013, ECI remained the majority shareholder when the company floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). With the collapse of First Quench Retailing, who owned Threshers in November 2010, Bargain Booze became the largest off licence chain in the United Kingdom.[8]

In September 2013, the company acquired the Wine Rack chain, an off licence chain that specialises in retailing wine, with its 22 outlets mostly located in London and South East England.[3] In December 2013, the company launched its first television advertising campaign.[9] In December 2017 Bargain Booze purchased Central Convenience Stores from Palmer and Harvey.[citation needed]

2018 financial difficultiesEdit

The chain was owned by Conviviality, who also owned Matthew Clark and Bibendum, and had a head office in Crewe.[1] In March 2018, Conviviality stated that it faced bankruptcy unless it could raise £125 million, as it issued its third profits warning in a month alongside a £30 million unpaid tax bill.[10] The company had earlier said it was considering tapping shareholders for funds, and had arranged meetings with institutional investors to persuade them to take part in its share placing to raise the required money.[11] This was unsuccessful and at the end of March, Conviviality announced its intention to appoint administrators within a fortnight, putting 2,600 jobs at risk.[12] In early April 2018, the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack brands were acquired for £7 million by wholesaler Bestway, while Matthew Clark and Bibendum were acquired by C&C Group, the owner of Magners cider.[13]


Bargain Booze is operated through a franchise model, with around 390 franchisees.[4] The chain is strongest in the North of England, particularly the North West.[14] It is the largest off-licence chain in the United Kingdom.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Robinson, Duncan (17 July 2013). "Bargain Booze plans to crack open the south with IPO proceeds". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Bargain Booze. Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b Butler, Sarah (2 September 2013). "Bargain Booze owner buys Wine Rack as it expands into south of England". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b c Holland, Tiffany (17 July 2013). "Analysis: Bargain Booze – the off-licence chain's owner at a glance". Retail Week.
  5. ^ "£65m Deal for Bargain Booze". Manchester Evening News. 12 January 2006.
  6. ^ "Bargain Booze Has Stiff Challenge". The Birmingham Post. 17 January 2006.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Winning 'marriage of convenience'". Off Licence News. Agile Media. 2 February 2007.
  8. ^ a b News, Manchester Evening (16 January 2006). "Bargain booze at the double".
  9. ^ "Bargain Booze festive campaign offers free Scotch egg to all customers on Christmas Eve". The Drum.
  10. ^ "Bargain Booze owner Conviviality reveals shock £30m tax bill". The Independent. 14 March 2018.
  11. ^ Butler, Sarah (21 March 2018). "Bargain Booze owner Conviviality must raise £125m to halt bankruptcy". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  12. ^ Kollewe, Julia; Davies, Rob (29 March 2018). "Bargain Booze owner Conviviality to file for administration". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  13. ^ Fisher, Martyn (6 April 2018). "Bestway buys Bargain Booze". Better Wholesaling. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  14. ^ O'Connell, Dominic (5 January 2014). "Our share tips for 2014". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  15. ^ Goodman, Matthew (30 May 2010). "Bargain Booze beats supermarkets at their own game". The Sunday Times.

External linksEdit