Restaurant group maintains strong performance in UK

Restaurant and deli group Carluccio’s today said profits for the year were set to beat expectations after a continued strong performance across its sites.

Restaurant and deli group Carluccio’s today said profits for the year were set to beat expectations after a continued strong performance across its sites.

The group, which operates from 32 locations including one in Manchester’s Trafford Centre, said turnover grew by 18% during the year to September 23, boosted by six new store openings in the period.

Altium Securities analyst Greg Feehely said he now expected pre-tax profits to be 4% ahead of his evious forecast of £5.1m (€7.3m).

Carluccio’s, which was set up by chef Antonio Carluccio and his wife Priscilla in 1991, said the business showed continued growth in the year, despite the non-existent summer, recent market turmoil and a slowdown in consumer spending.

Finance director Frank Bandura said the group’s value offering – average spend equals around £12 (€17) a head – gave it some protection against tough market conditions.

“As we as a nation eat out more and that becomes part of weekly routine, if there is a downturn what people will do is, rather than going for a £50 (€72) a head meal, they will come to a better value venue like ours,” he added.

Dishes such as the group’s Penne Giardiniera, with courgettes, chilli and deep-fried spinach balls, and Lasagne proved popular with customers over the year, while demand for authentic Italian biscuits and olive oils drove sales at the delis.

Mr Bandura said that a continued drive for better sourcing and increased volumes had seen a pick up in margins during the year, while also helping to keep prices down.

The company added it was making good progress with its new site pipeline for the current year, with a new store being fitted out in Stratford-upon-Avon and a second store in Manchester. Both sites are set to open by Christmas.

Carluccio’s is set to open in Heathrow Terminal 5 in the spring, with a restaurant in Leicester due to launch before the summer.

Mr Feehely said: “The stock remains a core holding in our view, supported by excellent returns and substantial development opportunity.”

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