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Fri 14th Nov 2014 - Restaurant Group reports LfLs up 3%
Restaurant Group reports LfLs up 3%: The Restaurant Group has reported like-for-like sales have grown 3% in the 45 weeks to 9 November 2014. The company stated: “Since our half-year results announcement at the end of August, the Group has continued to make progress. After 45 weeks trade in 2014, total sales are 10.3% ahead of the comparable period in 2013 and like-for-like sales are 3.0% ahead. We have opened 24 new restaurants in 2014 to date. These are performing well and are set to deliver strong returns in line with our usual targets. We expect to open a further 16 sites before the end of the year, taking the total to 40 new sites in 2014 (2013: 35). The pre-opening costs for these and a number of new sites that will open in January 2015 will be incurred in the last quarter of the current year as we continue to invest in the Group’s future. Our pipeline of new site openings continues to improve and we expect to further strengthen the rate of new openings in 2015. The Group’s balance sheet position remains strong and cash continues to be generated at levels which allow the Group to maintain investment in our existing portfolio and open new restaurants. We remain confident that the business will continue to make good progress during the remainder of the year, although sales have shown lower growth since the end of August and we are seeing some cost pressures. Nevertheless, we still expect to report good full year results, showing material progress on the prior year.”

Government must ensure no further delays, says ALMR: Responding to the news that licensees with personal licences expiring before spring 2015 will need to make an application to renew, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) urged the government to ensure there are no additional delays and no further burdens for licensed hospitality. The Home Office has confirmed that the Deregulation Bill, which removes the need to renew, will not receive Royal Assent before spring of next year. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has been vocal in its support of the retention of personal licences and have liaised with both Lynne Featherstone and her predecessor recently on this very issue. The key point is that the Deregulation Bill is supposed to cut administrative burdens for licensees, not increase them with additional forms. There has been unanimous agreement between the trade, licensing officials and enforcement that renewal dates should be disregarded. Neither licensees nor local authorities wish to waste time processing further applications. This could easily be solved by commitment from the government that no renewal is necessary pending adoption of Bill. This government needs to ensure that this is implemented next spring with no delays. Half of all personal licences are due for renewal in the next financial year and further stoppages could cost the sector a huge amount of time and money. We are pleased to see the government has taken the decision to scrap the renewal fee. This will save the sector millions of pounds which can be invested productively.”

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