Restaurant Group says on track for 2012

Kasmira Jefford
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THE RESTAURANT group said it continued to make good progress, posting a 6.5 per cent rise in sales in the 44 weeks to November, despite pressure from inflationary costs and weak consumer spending.

The owner of Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito restaurant chains said November trading had started well and remains on track to meet expectations for the full year.

The group, which operates over 390 restaurants and pub restaurants, mostly located at airports and out of town retail parks, said like-for-like sales grew 2.75 per cent.

It will open up to eight to 10 more sites by the end of 2011 on top of the 16 it has already opened this year, and said today it expects to open between 25 and 30 restaurants in 2012.

The group, led by Andrew Page, recently completed a refinancing with a new five year, £140m facility on the same covenant terms as previously, which Collins Stewart analyst Wayne Brown said should be taken as a “very positive signal”.

He added: “The group is about to enter a period where comparatives ease considerably due to last year’s snow impact, which cost the group around £6m of sales and £3-4m of profits.”

Restaurant Group shares closed at 282p, up 0.32 per cent.