Restaurant Group lifts profit target as it targets new openings to fuel growth

 
City A.M. Reporter
RESTAURANT Group has forecast full-year profit just ahead of market estimates as better-than-expected trading at its new sites offset the impact of heavy snowfall in the UK.

The company, which owns the Garfunkel’s and Frankie & Benny’s chains, said revenue for the 53 weeks to 2 January was seven per cent ahead of 2009, while like-for-like sales fell one per cent.

“Turnover for the final part of November and the first four weeks of December was impacted by the unusually harsh weather conditions experienced throughout the UK, although since then trading has been very strong,” the company said.

Northern Europe’s big freeze wreaked havoc and disrupted businesses after extreme weather conditions across the continent forced people to stay indoors especially during the important Christmas trading season.

The company has had a difficult year after the volcanic ash crisis hit sales in the 40 restaurants it owns in airports. The World Cup also took its toll as football fans ate in pubs rather than restaurants, to watch the games.

Restaurant Group, which is targeting 22 to 27 new openings in 2011, said it expected tough economic conditions to continue.

Analysts on average expect the company to post a pre-tax profit of £55.2m, on revenue of £465.1m for the year to 31 December.