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Tue 6th Sep 2016 - Update: Wildwood, Ed’s Easy Diner and Ministry of Sound
Wildwood operator Tasty reports sales and profit boost: Wildwood operator Tasty has reported sales increased by 28% in the 28 weeks to 3 July on the corresponding period to £21,794,000 (2015 – £17,050,000). Adjusted operating profit, before pre-opening costs, non-trade items and interest, was £1,925,000 (2015 – £1,684,000), a 14% increase on the corresponding period and adjusted pre-tax profit for the period increased by 17.5% to £1,615,000 (2015 – £1,375,000). The company stated: “The group said it has successfully implemented its programme of operational improvements during the period which has included changes to the central kitchen infrastructure and upgrades to a number of key systems. Appointments have been made across the group in operations, marketing, finance and HR departments to support future openings and the group’s expansion. The group websites and the wider digital marketing strategy continue to be developed as planned. The group has undertaken a comprehensive review of its estate during the period and has recognised impairment charges against five sites. Aside from these units, trade remains in line with expectations across the wider estate and the group is benefitting from a number of cost savings which are offsetting pressures on direct input costs. After taking into account all non-trade adjustments the group has a stated loss after tax for the period of £2,637,000 (2015 – profit £1,052,000). During the period capital expenditure of £5,044,000 (2015 – £4,495,000) was incurred. Four sites have been opened in the period, with a further three sites opened since the period end. The group is currently undertaking construction on three sites and expects to start construction on at least a further four sites during Q4 of 2016. The board has reviewed its property pipeline and now expects to open fifteen restaurants in 2017. Overall, the net cash inflow for the period was £334,000 (2015 – outflow £731,000). As at 3 July 2016, the group had net borrowings of £7,445,000 (2015 – £1,737,000). The group has an available banking facility of £12,000,000. The group continues to expand its operations through new openings. Actions are regularly taken to improve profitability at all sites, increasing sales through updated menus and improving food and labour margins. The group currently trades from fifty-five restaurants which consists of seven Dim t and forty-eight Wildwoods and Wildwood Kitchens. The group continues to evaluate new sites for further acquisitions.”

Ed’s Easy Diner ‘pausing for breath’ after expanding to quickly: Ed’s Easy Diner is ‘pausing for breath’ after expanding too quickly, The Times has reported. The company, now led by Andrew Guy again, recently put a £90m sale on hold. The company, according to The Times, is in talks with landlords of three of its 59 sites in relation to handing back the keys to premises. Guy told The Times the company approached landlords after deciding against a partial company voluntary arrangement. He added the company is ‘pausing for breath; after expanding to quickly. 

Ministry of Sound founder Lord Palumbo to step down as chairman: Ministry of Sound founder Lord Palumbo is to step down as chairman but retain a majority stake in the business. He will be succeeded by chief executive Lohan Presencer who will be replaced in turn by Jonathan Bevan, who was formerly president of the Europe and Australia/New Zealand division of Clear Channel. Lord Palumbo founded Ministry of Sound 25 years ago as a nightclub in Elephant and Castle, London. 

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