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Thu 8th Mar 2018 - Fulham Shore reduces opening plans as serving fewer customers
Fulham Shore expects full-year Ebitda below expectations, reduces number of new openings: Real Greek and Franco Manca operator Fulham Shore has reported headline Ebitda for the year – although in growth – is expected to be below market expectations. The company also said due to the uncertain economic outlook it was reducing the number of restaurant openings for the coming year. It stated: “Fulham Shore’s current financial year ends on 25 March 2018 and the results for that year will be announced in mid-July 2018. We expect to report an increase in turnover and headline Ebitda for the year ending 25 March 2018 over the past financial year ended 26 March 2017. While turnover for the year ending 25 March 2018 will be broadly in line with market expectations, our headline Ebitda will, however, be below market expectations. This is primarily due to trade in our suburban London restaurants, which, while they are still busy, are serving fewer customers than last year with higher operating costs. We have opened 13 new restaurants in the financial year to 25 March 2018, taking the number of restaurants operating at the year end to 41 Franco Manca pizzerias in the UK, one Franco Manca pizzeria franchised in Italy and 16 The Real Greek restaurants. We are currently building a Franco Manca pizzeria in Bath and we have exchanged contracts on a site for later in the year in South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh. We are operating in an uncertain economic outlook for both the UK and the restaurant sector in particular. As a consequence, we will bring forward our plans only to fund new restaurant openings from our internally generated free cash flow by reducing the number of new restaurant openings for the coming year. We will also choose those locations that we believe will give us above average returns and sensible property deals. We continue to offer freshly prepared food at great prices which, we feel, has led to our continuing profitability. All of our cash generated is reinvested back into the business. With this policy we keep our prices low and create jobs in new restaurants. Many of our employees are shareholders, creating a ‘super family’ of investors. In addition, our restaurant sites have been chosen with care and we have avoided property leases with excess space or particularly high rents. This affordable menu position is where we believe we should be placed within the restaurant sector. We believe that this, along with a prudent opening plan, puts us in a good position when the UK economic environment improves.”

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