French bakery and café brand Paul has credited significant investment in its central bakery kitchen and an intensive refurbishment programme encompassing a third of its estate for a 12% uptick in annual sales.
The 36-strong group registered sales of £32m for the 12 months to the end of December, with group EBITDA before head office costs and management fees totalling £3.2m.
Two new bakeries opened in Notting Hill Gate and Earl’s Court during the year and both are “trading well”, while 11 stores underwent refurbishment, which led to an improvement in sales.
Significant development of the brand’s catering/delivery offer with investment in the central bakery, expansion of product range and improved online ordering portal were also cited as factors for the growth.
Jean-Michel Orieux, CEO of Paul, said: “The fall in the value of sterling, business rate increases and the absorption of the National Living Wage provide challenging trading conditions. Through the continued refurbishment of our stores, development of our product range and central bakery plus commitment to our team and processes, we are confident Paul will continue to engage with our customers and perform well.”
Paul has earmarked a further five sites for refurbishment this year, while a new format kiosk has opened at Tower 42. Two more openings are planned by the end of the year.
The chain’s development chefs have also been working hard to create new products that put the spotlight on the heritage of its brand and authenticity of its French bakery and patisserie.