The owner of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia has posted a sharp increase in losses, as the sector comes under pressure.
Casual Dining Group said losses to May 2017 increased 18% to £60m, despite a 2.2% rise in like-for-like sales. It said it had faced challenging conditions "due to consumer confidence levels and the broader impact on discretionary spending". The firm also said it had seen a "significant" rise in costs.
These cost increases included the introduction of the National Living Wage and associated increases to it and the National Minimum Wage, the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and increased Employer's Pension Contributions, food and drink cost inflation driven by the devaluation of the pound, revaluation of business rates and rent increases, particularly in central London, and the £60m loss included an exceptional cost of £24.4m related to additional financing arranged during the financial year.
Total sales for the year were £329m, up 10% due to new site openings and sales growth from existing sites.
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