YO! Sushi tastes success despite big debt costs

RESTAURANT chain YO! Sushi has increased sales by a fifth after opening more UK stores and increasing its income from foreign franchises.

The firm’s parent company, Sushi Holdings 1, hit sales of £50.31m, up from £41.7m, for the year to 28 November, after increasing its number of branches in the UK by 10 to 54 and overseas by two to 12.

Operating profit rose to £1.66m, up from £1.29m, although the pre-tax loss was £6.47m as it was weighed down by more than £8m of interest payments and other charges. No-one at the firm was available to comment.

YO! Sushi, set up by former Marlborough College pupil Simon Woodroffe 14 years ago, was bought by private equity firm Quilvest from management and Primary Capital for a rumoured £51m in 2008.

Woodroffe, an ex-roadie, has gained a multi-million pound fortune from selling stakes in the business, although he still receives royalties. He has also developed other YO! brands, including hotel operator Yotel, which opened its first site in 2007.

Quilvest was set up to invest on behalf of German immigrant-turned-Argentine beer magnate Otto Peter Bemberg.