Benugo's owner dines out on double-digit sales growth

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Spending on dining out has strengthened in the past year (Source: Getty)

The firm behind Benugo coffee shops, Hix restaurants and the Gherkin’s bar rode the wave of rising leisure spending to deliver double-digit sales growth last year.

WSH International Investments posted a 12 per cent rise in revenues to £732m, while underlying earnings jumped almost 13 per cent to £62m.

The cost of a refinancing meant pre-tax profits shrank by a third to £5.8m. WSH now has access to a £240m loan, its latest accounts show.

Benugo’s turnover topped £100m for the first time in 2016 as the coffee shop spread across London and beyond. The business also includes the oyster and champagne specialist Searcys, a joint venture with the restaurateur Mark Hix, and a catering operation.

Read more: These are the Square Mile’s best independent coffee shops

Dividends of £6.5m were paid to the firm’s former owner-managers, although they have agreed to take smaller payments in future as part of the recent refinancing.

Britons have dined out more in the past year, despite weakening consumer confidence. Spending in hotels, restaurants and bars rose 2.5 per cent in the year to August, according to recent figures from Visa.

WSH said it is “constantly reviewing” its cost base in light of food price inflation and the “backdrop of political uncertainty”.

Read more: Asda income tracker: Consumer spending power fell again in August

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