TRG blames weather for dip in sales but sticks to its guns over strategy

The Restaurant Group this morning said it was “comfortable” with its performance in the first 20 weeks of the current financial year despite a 4% decline in like-for-like sales as the Beast from the East blunted trading.

The company claimed its strategic initiatives are driving improved performance in its Leisure business, but admitted conditions remain “challenging”. Total sales for the period fell 3% year-on-year.

Chairman Debbie Hewitt said trading had been “heavily impacted” by the adverse weather, although its Pubs and Concessions businesses continue to outperform the market.

During the first five months of the year TRG has opened nine new units, Mrs Hewitt said. The pipeline of new openings within its Pubs business has been further strengthened with the acquisition of four pubs from Ribble Valley Inns. Including those, it now expects to open around 10 pubs this year.

“Strong progress has been made in our Concessions business with expansion into new travel hubs,” she commented. “We now expect to open at least 12 new concession sites this year. We have successfully exited a further five closed sites in 2018 bringing the number of sites exited to 26 out of 41 closed sites.”

Mrs Hewitt added: “We are comfortable with the performance in the first 20 weeks of the current financial year and expect to see further benefit from our strategic initiatives as the year progresses. We expect to deliver results for the full year in-line with current market expectations.”

The Restaurant Group plc operates 502 restaurants and pub restaurants throughout the UK. Its principal trading brands are Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, Coast to Coast and Brunning & Price pubs.  It also operates a multi-brand Concessions business which trades principally in UK airports.

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