Revolution Bars has said it smashed expectations last month after the Government's pledge to give diners half-price meals made people flock to its sites, but warned that 11 bars could stay closed for much longer.

The company said sales at its reopened bars on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were close to twice as high as in August last year.

The Treasury's Eat Out To Help Out scheme picked up the bill for half of a meal during the first three days of the week.

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The sites' sales were 188.4% of the equivalent days last year, meaning that across the month sales were 77.5% of the figures in August 2019.

It is a major boost for the bar company, which in a previous update to investors said it was expecting sales to only reach just 55% of last year's levels in the worst-case scenario.

The numbers may not be directly comparable but they show a strong performance for the bars, and helped send Revolution's share price up by more than 10%.

But chief executive Rob Pitcher warned that 11 bars may not reopen until social distancing measures are relaxed further and sites are allowed to stay open later.

In the eight weeks to the end of August comparable sales were 72.5% of where they were last year.

"Having opened two-thirds of our estate I'm pleased that these bars have outperformed our base-case scenario assumptions, however, sales in the eight weeks since reopening commenced remain 27.5% below last year," Mr Pitcher said.

"We have more openings planned during this week and next but will have 11 bars that are very unlikely to resume trading until there is a further relaxation of social distancing measures and late-night venues are legally allowed to reopen."

Britain's energy regulator has fined SSE more than £2 million for a 2016 blunder which is likely to have pushed up wholesale electricity costs.

Ofgem said it would send a "strong message" to energy producers that they must share timely information with others on the market.

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In February 2016, SSE said it was going to shut three out of four units at Fiddler's Ferry, a coal-fired power plant in Cheshire with the capacity to provide 3% of Britain's peak electricity needs.

But a little over a week before the April 1 closing date the electricity giant signed a deal with National Grid that would keep the site online.

However, it was not until the day before the units had been meant to shut down that SSE told the market.

This meant that, for four trading days, traders were unaware there was going to be a lot more electricity in the system the following week than they were expecting.

"Market participants were likely to have paid higher prices than they needed to, and risked undermining confidence in the wholesale electricity market," said Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley.

It is unclear whether these costs were passed on to British households.

Martin Pibworth, SSE's energy director, said his employer had acted in "good faith" - a conclusion Ofgem said it had not found any evidence to counter.

He added that SSE's interpretation of the rules, which were then fairly recent, had been different to that of Ofgem, and called for more clarity.

"We subsequently understood that Ofgem's interpretation required disclosure to the market at an earlier stage. We admit that our approach was not in line with this requirement," he said.

"SSE did not benefit from disclosing only once the contract was signed and remains committed to clear and transparent rules for all market participants. We will be pressing regulatory authorities for additional guidance for market participants going forward."

Mr Brearley added: "This fine sends a strong message to market participants that they must be familiar with, and keep to, their obligations."
The fine concerns SSE's generation arm, and not the electricity supplier which was bought by Ovo Energy at the start of this year.

The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, has appointed a new head of business development. 

With over 25 years’ experience in senior data and analytic roles within a number of global businesses, Mark Wilkinson joins The Data Lab from Teradata, where he led a multi-disciplinary team to deliver high impact business outcomes for customers through the use of data intelligence.

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Prior to joining Teradata, Mr Wilkinson worked with Experian in multiple leadership roles, heading up teams dedicated to supporting clients in achieving their overall strategic business objectives in both the short and long-term by maximising value from data and analytics.  

In his new role, he will be responsible for all aspects of business development, leading a team of executives located across The Data Lab’s key hubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Mr Wilkinson will help identify future strategic funding opportunities from both public and private sector. He will spearhead collaborations with external partners across industry, public sector and academia.  

He said: "As we all start to plan for life beyond Covid-19, I look forward to joining The Data Lab team, helping tackle the challenges and opportunities that the ‘next normal’ brings to Scotland and our global partners. Data innovation will be key to how we transform; compete and create better lives for our citizens in the new world and Scotland is ideally positioned to be a global leader in this area.” 

“The chance to join such a talented team and help build on their successes to date by embracing and driving their overriding mission to help Scotland maximise value from data is an opportunity that I’m incredibly excited about.” 

Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to The Data Lab team. Mark’s extensive experience within the world of data and analytics, his wealth of knowledge and drive for collaboration within industry will prove extremely valuable for our plans in the months and years to come.” 

“As we continue to ensure the data science community is well served by delivering more value, skills and expertise as well as identifying key areas of growth to unlock Scotland’s potential as a global leader in data innovation, Mark will play a vital role in supporting our ongoing growth plans, investing in our clients with time and consideration.”

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