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Tue 9th Jan 2018 - Update: Tasty expects further deterioration in 2018
Tasty – ‘we expect a further deterioration of trading in 2018’: Wildwood operator Tasty has provided a trading update for the 52 weeks ended 31 December 2017, forecasting trading will get even tougher in 2018. The company stared: “Trading for the period has been in line with expectations. The board has previously highlighted the difficult trading environment faced by the restaurant sector and expects a further deterioration in 2018. The company has announced its intention to dispose of sites and the board is pleased to confirm that progress has been made in this area. The company has disposed of four underperforming sites and undertaken a sales-and-leaseback of one further site with net proceeds from these transactions totalling £2m. Two further sites are currently under offer and are expect to be disposed of in the coming months. The board also today announces that it has accepted the resignation of Timothy Cundy as finance director. Tim will be serving three months’ notice and will continue his responsibility for the 2017 year end financial statements and audit. The company has identified a replacement with significant sector experience who will take over the finance function upon appointment. The board would like to thank Tim for all his hard work over the last four years.”

Majestic Wine hails ‘brilliant’ team performance as sales rise: Majestic Wine has announced that group sales, for the ten week Christmas trading period ending 1 January 2018, increased by 3.2% versus the same period in the prior year. On an underlying basis, the increase was 4.1%. The group delivers c.30% of total annual sales during the Christmas trading period. Majestic Retail delivered a good result with sales up 1.2% (1.3% like-for-like) versus tough comparatives of 6.2% (7.5% like-for-like) last year. The group’s gross margin percentage was broadly flat year on year. Subject to continued satisfactory trading, the group remains on track to achieve current market expectations and to accelerate sales growth in the medium term by increasing our investment in new customer acquisition. Rowan Gormley, chief executive, said: “The team performed brilliantly. The fact that we have been able to grow sales and maintain margins shows that our winning formula of fabulous customer service from delightful people and delicious wines at fair prices works even when times are tough. I am very pleased to announce that Josh Lincoln has been appointed retail and managing director. Josh’s promotion is richly deserved having transformed our store network into an entrepreneurial retail proposition during his time as customer director. We are on track to achieve our £500m sales goal by 2019, on track to deliver market expectations for the current financial year, and on track to accelerate investment in new customers, new winemakers and more fantastic wines.” 

Crab burger concept Claw comes to Carnaby for first bricks and mortar site: Crab burger concept Claw has opened its first bricks and mortar site, in Carnaby. The concept has operated at festivals and as a pop-up across London. It was also one of the first operators to open a site at British Land’s street food space at Broadgate in the City of London, launching a takeaway-only site in one of the shipping containers in May. Claw has opened its first restaurant in Kingly Street offering shellfish and surf and turf options alongside its staple crab burgers. Claw, founded by Fabian Clark, pays homage to the “best of coastal Britain”, with seafood delivered directly from Devon. Dishes on the all-day menu include bacon and scallop muffin, fried chicken and caviar, squid Bolognese, duck nuggets, and trout poké, Hot Dinners reports. Claw is backed by West End theatre producer Phil Cameron, who is also chief executive of No1 Lounges, which operates pay-on-entry lounges at airports across the UK.

Handful of tickets left for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator series this month, largest sector marketing event in the UK by attendance: A handful of tickets are left for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator, the most comprehensive marketing series the sector has seen. The event has now become the best-attended marketing event in the UK with more than 600 people from nine different European countries booked to attend. Propel will stage the two-day event in partnership with Think Hospitality on Wednesday, 17 January and Thursday, 18 January at One Moorgate Place in London. An array of marketers from agencies and early-stage, growing and rejuvenating brands will take to the stage to share their strategies and winning tactics. Companies and brands attending include Novus, Signature Pubs, Cafe Rouge, Wagamama, Brasserie Bar Co, Las Iguanas, YO! Sushi, Fuller’s, ASK Italian, Mitchells & Butlers, G1 Group, Costa Coffee, Ei Group, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Stonegate Pub Company, Be At One, Revolution Bars Group, Cabana, Thai Leisure Group, New World Trading Company, Pho, Maxwell’s Group, Gather & Gather, Oakman Inns and Restaurants, The Breakfast Club, The Coaching Inn Group, Gail’s Bakery, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, K10, Giggling Squid, San Carlo Group, Ennismore, TLC Inns, Polpo, FrogPubs, The Real Eating Company, Claus Meyer Holding, VIP Pizza, 200 Degrees, Coppa Club, Snug Bars, Albion & East, Pint Shop, True North Brew Co, Darwin & Wallace, Chit Chaat Chai, BabaBoom, Electric Star and Eat Poke. For full details of the two days, co-ordinated by James Hacon and Ann Elliott respectively, click here. Conference prices for two days are £525 plus VAT for operators and £795 plus VAT for suppliers. Companies buying two tickets will receive a third free. A one-day rate of £345 plus VAT is available to operators only. For more information and to book, call Jo Charity on 01444 810304 or email or Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or Please note the Boot Camp on Tuesday, 16 January will now take place on the tenth floor of the Blue Fin Building in Southwark Street, London.

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