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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 10th May 2019 - Leon reports like-for-likes up 15.2% as revenue rises to £95m
Leon reports like-for-likes up 15.2% as revenue rises to £95m: Natural fast food brand Leon has reported like-for-like sales were up 15.2% for the year ending 31 December 2018. Sales increased 24.5% to £95m, compared with £76.3m the previous year. It was the fifth year of unbroken revenue growth, more than quadrupling in size in that period. International sales for the year were up 102% and now account for 10.6% of group revenue. Meanwhile, more than half (53%) of sales came from plant-based menu items. The company delivered adjusted Ebitda of £3.5m, despite absorbing about £1.7m of additional costs from higher wages, business rates, food prices and startup costs of opening in the US. Ebitda in the UK rose 8% to £3.9m. During the year, the company reduced net debt by almost half to £3.1m, giving it a “strong financial platform for further expansion”. The company opened nine restaurants during the year, taking the portfolio to 63 sites, 54 of them in the UK. Leon accelerated its international expansion with its first restaurants in the US, Norway and Spain while its debut site in Ireland, where it plans to open 20 restaurants by 2023, launches this month. Up to 20 new restaurants are planned in the next year – more than half of them overseas. In the UK, this will include restaurants in Wimbledon, London’s South Bank and Leeds. Co-founder and chief executive John Vincent said: “2018 was a strong year for Leon. Against a tough backdrop for our industry, our fantastic team showed when you have a great menu, excellent service and welcoming locations, people will come. We’ve all seen the struggles faced by the casual dining industry, with cautious consumers choosing carefully at the same time as businesses contend with increased costs – so we take nothing for granted. However, seeing the business deliver 18 consecutive months of like-for-like growth while opening a further nine restaurants shows we’re responding to the challenge in the right way. It’s encouraging to see that what we set out to do as a business when we started in 2004 – to deliver naturally fast food that is good for you while being good to the planet – is proving popular with guests not only in the UK where we started, but now overseas. We took some big steps in 2018 to take the Leon concept to new markets including the US and Ireland, and this expansion will pick up further pace in the year ahead.”


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