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Tue 21st Jan 2014 - Breaking News - Restaurant Group chief executive to retire
Restaurant Group chief executive to retire: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has reported that its chief executive Andrew Page has notified the board that he wishes to retire as ceo in August 2014. The company stated: “Under Andrew’s leadership the group has developed into a first class and firmly established FTSE-250 business, with an excellent track record of growth in earnings, dividends and shareholder value. We are pleased that, following his retirement as ceo, Andrew has agreed to remain with the group as advisor to the chairman. This will help to ensure both an orderly handover and continuity as the business continues to develop. The board has initiated the search for a new ceo and will consider both internal and external candidates for the position.” Alan Jackson, chairman of The Restaurant Group, said: “Both the board and I personally would like to express our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Andrew on the immense success he has achieved at TRG during his 12 year tenure. In that time the company has come from having a market capitalisation of £75 million to be valued now at over £1.2 billion! That would be some achievement even in a benign economy, let alone in the exceptionally challenging decade that we have endured. Although retiring as ceo, I am delighted that Andrew will remain involved with the company as he has agreed to advise the chairman and the board on an annually renewable basis for some two days a week.” Page said: “My time at TRG has been the most fulfilling of my twenty plus years in the hospitality industry. We took a business that had lost its way, re-structured and re-orientated it and then, from firm foundations, have grown it to become the successful company that we have today. Credit for this success belongs to the TRG team who have, at times, achieved the seemingly impossible and throughout have delivered a consistently fine performance for our shareholders. They are an outstanding group of people and it has been my privilege to lead them over the past ten years. The Restaurant Group is in very good shape and is firmly established as a leader in the UK casual dining market; it has been built on strong foundations, with a clear and proven strategy, market-leading brands in great locations and is run by a high quality and committed team. I am confident that The Restaurant Group will continue to prosper.”

Marston’s – good trading over festive period: Marston’s has reported good trading over the Christmas and New Year period and that profitability is in line with expectations. In its Destination and Premium pubs, like-for-like sales were 4.1% ahead of last year including like-for-like food sales growth of 5.6% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 2.2%. In the key three week Christmas trading period to 4 January, trading was strong with growth of 3.3%, following 5.8% growth in the corresponding period last year. Operating margins are slightly ahead of last year and accelerated plans for 25-30 of our new-pub restaurants in the current financial year are on track, with eleven openings expected in the first half. In Taverns, managed and franchise pub like-for-like sales were 3.0% ahead of last year, with strong Christmas and New Year trading. The company stated: “Our franchise model continues to prove successful, providing motivated licensees with local flexibility while improving the quality, consistency and value of the consumer offer, and reducing risk for the licensee. In leased, profits are estimated to be around 1% ahead of last year. In brewing, although volumes are just below last year continued growth in premium ales has benefited operating margins, resulting in profits being slightly ahead. Net debt and cash flow are in line with our expectations. We will announce our interim results for the 26 weeks to 5 April 2014 on 15 May 2014.” Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “We traded well over the Christmas period as customers responded to our excellent value festive offers, with 55,000 meals served on Christmas Day – a record. Our performance in the first quarter has been good and, encouragingly, we have achieved growth in each of our key trading divisions. We continue to strive to ensure that our pubs and beers meet the high standards our customers expect and provide outstanding value for money.”

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