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Tue 9th Jul 2013 - Breaking News - Harry Ramsden's in talks with pub group
Harry Ramsden’s in talks with pub group as it plans major expansion: Fish and chip shop brand Harry Ramsden’s, which operates 29 sites, is in talks with a number of franchisees and a major pub group which could lead to rapid expansion of the brand. It is understood that the company is in discussion with a FTSE250 company with a managed and leased estate over licensing the brand for its leased division. In addition, the company is understood to be close to signing a franchisee for the Yorkshire territory with a view to opening 50 sites over five years. News of the discussions comes as the company opens a flagship site in Bournemouth that has seen a £1m refurbishment, creating the largest fish and chip shop in the world with 417 covers. The refurbished Bournemouth site showcases both the company’s restaurant and takeaway format and is expected to take £200,000-a-week net of VAT. Chief executive Joe Teixeira told Propel: “This (Bournemouth site) will point the way to the future in line with the strategic review of the business undertaken upon my arrival in September 2011 after ten years as head of foodservice at the John Lewis Partnership. We are currently in discussion with a number of potential franchisees and pub groups to expand the brand aggressively under a variety of formats (both here in the UK and internationally) with an ambition of 500 plus units over a period of time.” The business is expected to deliver a positive contribution this year after a short period of turnaround since the acquisition by its current owner Ranjit Singh Boparan, who also own Two Sisters Food Group and Northern Foods. Harry Ramsden’s also has three sites run by franchisees – one in Brighton, one in Inverness and a third in Euston train station, run by SSP. Harry Ramsden’s reported that it disposed of six sites in the year to 1 January 2012 at a cost of £1,160,000 but removing losses incurred at the sites in 2011 of £1,150,000. This is expected to mean the company moves to profitability this year. Turnover decreased to £15,707,934 from £18,879,874 the year before. The company made a loss before tax of £2,129,019, up from £1,471,958 the year before. The company stated in its most recent accounts: “The disposal of six loss-making sites and operational improvements have moved the business to a position where it is generating cash and is now looking to improve profitability through targeted investment in its core estate, together with expanding franchise operations and licensed retail range under third party agreements. During the turnaround period, the business has the full support of its owner to provide the required liquidity and capital expenditure to ensure the business is not only a going concern but is able to realise its full potential.”
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