Restaurant Group Plc
Rising prices, muted wages growth and swingeing austerity measures have squeezed disposable incomes across the United Kingdom, with fears of a debt crisis taking a further toll on consumer confidence.
We have built our business away from the high street and this is a key differentiator. Our restaurants are located in edge and out of town locations, and in rural areas, Chief Executive Andrew Page told Reuters.
Restaurant Group, which owns the Garfunkel's and Frankie & Benny's chains, bucked the trend by selling more than 39 million meals in 2011, up 5 percent from a year ago.
The company also said it benefited from staying away from deep discounting that was so prevalent in the retail industry in the UK.
Deep discounting tempted cash-strapped Britons to spend over Christmas, squeezing profit margins at retailers who see little sign of business improving as the country teeters close to recession.
The company, which opened 25 new restaurants last year, said they were all trading ahead of its expectations. It expects to open a further 25 to 30 new restaurants this year, creating around 600 new jobs.
Group turnover for the 52 weeks to January 1 rose 7.3 percent from the comparable period in 2010, while like-for-like sales were up 3.3 percent.
The company expects its full-year pretax profit to be in line with current market consensus of about 60 million pounds, Page added.
In November, Restaurant Group said it was continuing to trade well, with 44-week sales up 6.5 percent, despite pressure from rising costs and increased unemployment in Britain.
Restaurant Group shares were up 2 percent at 286.3 pence at 11:20 a.m. BT on the London Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Maju Samuel)