The Restaurant Group boosted as sales surge

Kasmira Jefford
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RESTAURANT Group, the owner of the Garfunkel’s and Frankie & Benny’s chains, yesterday said sales bounced back in the third quarter after a quiet summer, driven by an uptick in consumer spending.

Reporting a 3.9 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the first nine months of the year, chief executive Andrew Page said growth accelerated to four per cent in September and October after “a more difficult patch” around the time of the Olympics.

“London was much quieter than most people had anticipated – and has bounced back very strongly,” he said, adding that all parts of the UK were performing well.

“That growth was a combination of selling more meals but also, we are seeing people spend more money, which is positive,” he said.

Total sales in the nine months rose 8.25 per cent.

Restaurant Group owns 410 outlets in the UK in out-of-town locations such as retail parks, where it benefits from being next to multiplex cinemas and other leisure venues.

Wayne Brown, analyst at Canaccord Genuity said: “This is an exceptionally strong result considering the tough comparative of 2.5 per cent and the fact cinema admissions have been poor in the quarter.”

The group, which also owns Garfunkel’s, has opened 16 restaurant this year and aims to open 26 to 29 by the end of 2012. This includes its new US-style chain Coast-to-Coast, which Page said was trading well.