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Thu 9th Jan 2014 - Breaking News - Restaurant Group: up to 43 new sites in 2014
Restaurant Group – up to 43 new openings in 2014: The Restaurant Group has reported that its full year results for the 42 weeks to 29 December, to be announced by early March 2014, are expected to be ahead of the consensus of market forecasts – and as many as 43 new sites will be opened in 2014. Turnover for the 52 weeks to 29 December 2013 was 9% ahead of the prior year and like-for-like sales were 3.5% ahead. Group operating margins for 2013 are expected to show progress on 2012. New openings were ahead of the previous year with 35 restaurants opened in 2013. Trading at these sites has been “excellent and they are set to deliver strong returns”. The company expects to open between 36 and 43 new sites in 2014. Andrew Page, chief executive of The Restaurant Group, said: “In 2013, The Restaurant Group again delivered another excellent performance with increased sales, margins and record profits. Our value for money offerings and brands with wide appeal encouraged more customers to dine in our restaurants and enjoy our hospitality. Sales increased by 9%, with like-for-like sales 3.5% ahead of the prior year. Profits were well ahead of 2012 and cash generation was strong. During 2013 we opened 35 new restaurants, creating over 1,000 new jobs and this year we expect to open between 36 and 43 new restaurants. Last year, we asked a lot of our people and the TRG team responded magnificently to deliver these excellent results. I am extremely grateful to them and know that their focus is now directed towards delivering another great result in 2014.” Panmure Gordon leisure analyst Simon French has issued a ‘Buy’ note with a price target of 684p. He said: “The Restaurant Group has announced strong trading to the end of the year with like-for-like sales growth being maintained at 3.5% (against a very tough comparative of circa 9%). Operating margins are expected to show progress on the prior year and as such results are expected to be ahead of company consensus of £71.6m PBT.”

Greggs – like-for-likes up 3.1% over the festive period: Greggs, the 1,600-strong bakery chain headed by former Punch Taverns boss Roger Whiteside, has reported like-for-likes up 3.1% over the five-week festive period, with total sales up 4.8%. The company stated: “We enjoyed strong demand for our core food-on-the-go products over the Christmas period with growth in sales of sandwiches, savouries, sweet bakery and drinks. We also introduced a limited range of Christmas favourites, including our Festive Bakes and award-winning sweet mince pies, which sold well. For our financial year as a whole (52 weeks ending 28 December 2013) total sales grew by 3.8% and like-for-like sales were down by 0.8%, reflecting the difficult trading conditions earlier in the year. However, we saw an improving trend through the year, with like-for-like sales growth in the fourth quarter reaching 2.6%. This improved like-for-like growth was in part driven by the investment in product initiatives and customer service that support our ‘Bakery-food-on-the-go’ proposition. During the year we opened 68 new shops (including 15 franchised units) and increased the number of shop closures to 68 leaving total shop numbers unchanged with 1,671 shops trading at 28 December 2013. We opened 70% of our new shops in locations away from high streets. We now have 24 franchised shops in motorway service stations across the UK in partnership with Moto Hospitality Limited, and we opened our first franchised shop with Euro Garages Ltd in September. We continue to see the franchise model as offering opportunities for further growth.” Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “I am encouraged by the improvement in trading that we achieved as we progressed through the year, in part reflecting our new ‘Bakery food-on-the-go’ strategy. As a result, full year results should be in line with our previous expectations. Whilst we face a number of challenges in the coming year we remain confident that we can make further progress with our strategic plan in 2014.”

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