Itsu gobbles up more customers as profits jumps

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Itsu said its extended trading hours were drawing more customers into stores
FOOD conscious Britons seeking out healthier lunch options helped to drive up sales at Itsu by more than a fifth last year.

The sushi specialist, launched by Pret a Manger founder Julian Metcalfe, posted a 20.8 per cent rise in turnover to £67.9m in the year to January, with like-for-like sales up by 6.8 per cent.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose by 32.7 per cent to £6.9m.

Metcalfe said Itsu’s performance last year was driven by “surging consumer demand for healthier meal choices at affordable prices”.

Itsu said the chain was also winning over more customers after expanding its menu and extending its trading hours to cater to people wanting breakfast and food on the way home in the even­ing as well as lunch.

It comes after rival food outlets such as Greggs have also extended opening hours to grab a greater share of the food-to-go market.

Itsu has 50 outlets after opening 10 last year. It aims to have opened another 10 by the end of this year in locations including Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush, Bicester Village and Stansted airport.

“Due to the incredibly positive customer response to new locations outside London, regional expansion plans have also been accelerated and we’re confident the remaining openings in 2015 will be a success,” Metcalfe added.

Metcalfe founded Itsu in 1997 as a restaurant in Chelsea before opening its first store six years later.

He still owns a majority stake in the business, with the remaining shares owned by Clive Schlee, the boss of Pret, and Gerard Lough­ran, the chief executive of Itsu.