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Restaurant Group beefs up expansion as sales rise

Restaurant and pub operator Restaurant Group said trading for the first 19 weeks of its financial year has been strong and it is on track to report a 'very satisfactory' first half performance.

Restaurant and pub operator Restaurant Group said trading for the first 19 weeks of its financial year has been strong and it is on track to report a 'very satisfactory' first half performance.

The Frankie & Benny's restaurants operator said total sales rose 11% in the 19 week period from the same period last year while like-for-like (LFL) sales were up 4.5%.

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During the period the group opened two new Frankie & Benny's restaurants and one new Pub restaurant. Restaurant Group said these sites are trading well and are set to deliver good returns.

"In total we expect to open between 30 and 35 new restaurants this year, most of which will be in the second half and at least half of these will be Frankie and Benny's. Looking further forward the new site pipeline for 2014 and beyond is better than we have seen for a number of years," it said in a company update.

The performance of its new Coast to Coast restaurants has been 'particularly pleasing' and expects to open a further 4-5 sites in 2013, it said.

The group said it is trading in line with expectations, margins have improved and are on track for good first half results.

A final dividend of 7.3p per share has been recommended in respect of the year ended December 30th 2012. This makes a full year dividend of 11.8p per share, up 12% on the previous full year's dividend.

CJ

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