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Thu 4th Oct 2018 - Update: Wagamama reports first-quarter results, Jamie Oliver strengthens team
Wagamama reports UK like-for-like sales up 8.5% in first quarter: Wagamama has reported turnover increased 12.3% to £97.4m in the 16 weeks to 19 August, its first quarter of a new financial year. The UK saw 8.5% like-for-like sales growth. Wagamama reported a 10.1% UK outperformance of the market in the quarter and has traded ahead of the competition consistently for more than four years (228 weeks). Adjusted Ebitda was up 1.9% in the first quarter to £12.7m, compared with £12.4m the previous year, despite headwinds. Four UK restaurants opened in the quarter – Liverpool New Mersey, Rushden Lakes, Chelmsford and East Midlands Designer Outlet. Four refurbishments were completed in the period, while further major revamps are under way at Wigmore Street, Liverpool, Putney and Victoria. Franchise restaurants opened in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Norway and Italy. Chief executive Jane Holbrook said: “I am very lucky to work with the best people in the industry. They have continued to deliver outstanding UK like-for-likes and I’m delighted to say we’ve also achieved our highest customer net promoter score and lowest team turnover on top of good profit growth. I thank them all for the enormous passion and commitment to this wonderful brand.” The company stated: “Turnover in the UK increased 12.3% to £93.2m in the first quarter of 2017/18 from £83.0m the year before. This was due to the 8.5% like-for-like sales increase and an increase in the number of restaurants from 127 open at the end of the first quarter of 2017/18 to 133 open at the end of the first quarter of 2018/19. Turnover in the US increased 10.3% (13.7% in US dollar terms) to £3.2m ($4.2m) in the first quarter of 2017/18 from £2.9m ($3.7m) the previous year, reflecting growth in like-for-like sales and the opening of one restaurant in New York City. Turnover from the international franchised restaurants business line increased 25.0% to £1.0m in the first quarter of 2018/19 from £0.8m the previous year. Gross margin has increased from £36.8m in the first quarter of 2017/18 to £39.3m in the first quarter of 2018/19. The growth in the estate and the like-for-like sales growth were the primary causes of this increase. This further includes the impact of supply chain and National Living Wage cost increases. Administrative expenses before exceptional items increased 10.9% to £35.5m in the first quarter of 2018/19 from £32.0m the year before. This was primarily due to overhead costs and depreciation commensurate with the addition of new restaurants in addition to the increase in central overhead expenses, again reflecting the increase in estate size. This includes the impact of business rates increases. The cash balance at the end of the first quarter of 2018/19 was £23.4m, compared with a balance of £31.6m at the end of the first quarter 2017/18. The cash outflow of £5.9m in the first quarter of 2018/19 increased from an outflow of £2.4m in the first quarter of 2017/18. The first quarter of 2017/18 benefited from a net financing cash inflow from the group’s refinancing in July 2017, which has not been experienced in the first quarter of 2018/19. This is partially offset by a reduced level of capital expenditure in the first quarter of 2018/19.”

Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group juggles senior team: Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has appointed Lucy Worth as operations director and Tamsin Ashmore as finance director amid changes to its senior team. Worth was formerly operations director of better burger brand Byron and will cover all Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen restaurants in the UK. Ashmore will join the company in November covering the group’s UK and international businesses. She was previously finance director at Technicolor. In another move, head of international business operations Hamish Goldie has been promoted to international operations director. Goldie, who has been with Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group for eight years, will maintain the development and growth of international markets for the company. Meanwhile, Nick Schapira will leave the Jamie’s Italian international business at the beginning of November. A company spokeswoman also responded to the recent government move to ensure restaurant staff receive all their tips. She said: “Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group is proud to say no changes are needed to bring us in line with the new legislation as we have always paid 100% of tips and service charges to our restaurant teams.” Last week, Jamie Oliver’s business portfolio reported a loss of £19.9m last year hit by results at his restaurant chain, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

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