Expansion lifts full-year sales at Wagamama

Kasmira Jefford
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WAGAMAMA, the Japanese-inspired noodle chain, said yesterday that sales jumped 13.5 per cent last year as the company ramped up its expansion plans in the UK.

The private equity-owned group posted sales of £141.2m in the year to 28 April compared with £124.4m the previous year, driven by 14 new restaurant openings.

Pre-tax profits edged up by one per cent to £17.6m while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by 7.9 per cent to £23.1m, accounts filed yesterday at Companies House show.

Wagamama, which was bought by Duke Street Capital in 2011, saw a shake-up of management in 2013 when former chief executive Steve Easterbrook quit after less than a year to return to his former employee McDonald’s. David Campbell, the former managing director of Allsport, which oversees all of Formula One’s advertising, took over as chief executive in September.

The chain accelerated its expansion strategy earlier last year with plans to open 15 to 20 sites per year over the next few years. It currently has 102 UK outlets and more than 36 franchises overseas

The first Wagamama restaurant was launched in Bloomsbury in 1992 by Alan Yau the entrepreneur behind the upmarket restaurant chain Hakkasan, however he no longer owns a stake in the company.

“The management is confident that there is considerable potential for continued expansion of the business and the brand and will continue to focus on a well-controlled growth programme,” it said.

The accounts also show that a dividend of £60m was recommended by directors. However, a spokesperson said that this was paid within the group to settle a loan.