Restaurant Group swings to loss as writedowns overshadow sales growth

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Wagamama and Garkfunkels owner Restaurant Group swung to a first-half loss, despite improving sales, after it took a large impairment charge on the value of its assets.

Pre-tax losses from continuing operations for the six months through June amounted to £87.7m, compared to profits of £12.2m on-year, and included £115.7m of exceptional charges including an impairment charge and onerous lease provision.

Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 36% to £28.1m and sales rose 58% to £515.9m, or by 4.0% on a like-for-like basis.

The company declared an interim dividend of 2.1p per share.

As for currently trading, it said like-for-like sales were up 3.7% for the first 34 weeks of the financial year, benefiting from soft comparatives in the prior year.

'Our three growth businesses of Wagamama, concessions and pubs are all out-performing the market and have potential for further growth,' chief executive Andy Hornby, who joined the group last month, said.

'At the same time, we have an acute focus on optimising our leisure business, through targeted operational initiatives and disciplined estate management.'

'Despite the well documented challenges facing the casual dining sector, the group's diversified set of brands provides firm foundations.'


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