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Wed 26th Feb 2014 - Breaking News - Restaurant Group reports 3.5% rise in like-for-likes
Restaurant Group like-for-likes up 3.5%: The Restaurant Group, which operates 440 restaurants and pubs, has reported like-for-like sakes grew 3.5% in the eight weeks to 23 February with total sales up 10%. Total sales grew 9% to £580m in 2013. Profit before tax rose 13% to £72.7m. The company opened 35 new sites in 2013 and plans 36 to 43 new restaurants this year. Chief executive Andrew Page said: “The Restaurant Group delivered another strong performance in 2013, building further on its consistent record of increasing earnings each year. Our like-for-like sales were 3.5% ahead of the previous year, margins increased and all of our businesses grew sales and profits. Earnings per share were 16% ahead of the prior year. We opened 35 new restaurants – these are trading well and are set to deliver excellent returns. Last year we created over 1,000 new jobs and this year we will create even more as we expect to open a further 36 to 43 new restaurants. These results are a reflection of the hard work and efforts of the TRG team and I would like to record my thanks to them for producing another outstanding performance. With the UK economy showing improvement, employment levels rising and inflation falling there are good prospects for an improvement in household finances. This bodes well for our sector and all of our team will be working determinedly to deliver another year of profitable progress. The Restaurant Group is in great shape and I am confident that it will continue to prosper.” Of its major brands, it stated:

Frankie & Benny’s (232 units):
Frankie and Benny’s traded strongly in 2013 delivering significant increases in turnover, EBITDA and profit. Once again, margins were very strong and this is particularly encouraging as we have been further building the team and resource base in anticipation of an increased rate of roll out. During the year we opened 17 new restaurants of which six were on cinema sites. Trade at the new openings has been strong and they are on track to deliver excellent returns. We anticipate opening between 18 and 22 new Frankie and Benny’s restaurants in 2014. The strength of the Frankie and Benny’s brand, its breadth of appeal, versatility and high level of customer recognition all contribute to a consistent track record of success. This gives us great confidence that there is significant future roll out potential for this brand.

Coast to Coast (10 units):
We opened our first Coast to Coast restaurant in Brighton in November 2011. By the end of 2013 we had ten Coast to Coast restaurants of which five were opened during the year. The performance of our Coast to Coast restaurants has been excellent and in a handful of cases, truly exceptional. They are set to deliver strong returns. Eight of our ten Coast to Coast restaurants trade alongside either, or both, Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito. These three brands complement each other well and we plan to continue to open further Coast to Coast restaurants alongside our other Leisure brands. We are planning to open between five and seven new Coast to Coast restaurants in 2014 and we have identified several dozen locations where we are confident that a Coast to Coast restaurant would trade well. Our forward pipeline is encouraging and we believe that this brand has significant roll out potential.

Chiquito (73 units):
Chiquito performed well in 2013 with a solid increase in revenues and a significant increase in EBITDA, profit and margins. We opened four new Chiquito restaurants during the year. They are trading superbly and are set to deliver strong returns. During 2014 we expect to open between five and seven new Chiquito restaurants.

Garfunkel’s (16 units):
Garfunkel’s traded superbly during 2013 and this has continued into 2014. Central London, the traditional heartland of Garfunkel’s, has been especially buoyant and Garfunkel’s has benefited from this. Like-for-like sales growth was exceptionally strong and this translated into significant increases in turnover, profit and margins. We are continuing to search for new site opportunities which will deliver our required returns. 

Pub restaurants (49 units):
Our pub restaurants business traded strongly throughout the year and delivered significant increases in turnover, profits and margins. We opened four new pub restaurants during the year and these are trading well and are set to deliver strong returns. During the year our recent opening, The Bulls Head, at Mottram St Andrew, won the Good Pub Guide’s “Best New Pub of the Year” award. We continue to build a portfolio of high quality pubs in terms of location, appeal, standard of food and service and, most importantly, consistent growth in profits. Our pub restaurant business has the potential to grow significantly over the medium term and also to command a niche position as a high quality, nationwide Pub restaurant business. During 2014 we expect to open four to six new pub restaurants.

Concessions (60 units):
Our Concession business traded strongly in 2013 with a solid increase in turnover and significant increases in EBITDA, profits and margins. Our business continues to gain market share and, as passenger numbers start to increase, we are confident that this trend can continue. During the year we opened five new units and these are set to deliver strong returns. We expect to open two to four new Concession restaurants in 2014.

Greggs reports full-year 0.8% decline in like-for-likes: Greggs, which operates 1671 outlets, has reported sales grew 3.8% to £762.4m in the year to 28 December 2013, with full-year like-for-likes down 0.8%. Pre-tax profit before exceptional items was down 18.9% to £41.3m. The company refitted 216 shops in the year and opened 68 sites while closing the same number – 70% of 2013 new shop openings were in locations other than high streets. Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “2013 was a year of transition for Greggs as our new strategic focus centred on the growing food-on-the-go market. Whilst total sales for the year rose 3.8% like-for-like sales were down 0.8% reflecting the tough and competitive trading conditions. However, I am encouraged by the improvement in performance in recent months as our new strategic focus started to deliver benefits. Market conditions are expected to remain challenging in 2014. It will be a year of further change for Greggs as we move forward with our plan to focus on the food-on-the-go market and build on positive recent trading momentum.”

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