Pizza chain Prezzo reports jump in profits

Pizza and pasta restaurant chain Prezzo shrugged off the squeeze on consumer spending today by posting a jump in half-year profits.

The 172-strong chain lifted revenues by almost a quarter to £59.6 million in the six months to July 3, with sales boosted by the opening of seven new outlets, though two others were closed.

Profits rose strongly, outstripping City forecasts, to climb 17% to £7.3 million on an underlying basis. One analyst estimated that sales excluding the impact of new openings rose by 5% in the period.

Prezzo stepped up its expansion plans a year ago after they were put on hold in 2009 during the recession. It today confirmed it is on track to hit its target of 20 openings over the whole of 2011.

Seven new restaurants have already opened since June and Prezzo is refurbishing sites recently acquired from Caffe Uno.

Chairman Michael Carlton said trading had been relatively stable over the year so far, adding that while there is still "considerable uncertainty" over the economy and consumer confidence he expects a "positive outcome for 2011".

Shares in the Essex-based group rose by nearly 7% as analysts said the group is well on track to meet forecasts for the whole of 2011.

Chief executive Jonathan Kaye put the strong performance down to its value-focus, as well as investment in products and online offerings and its move to more prime locations.

Over the past year outlets have opened in city centres in Aberdeen, Cardiff and Glasgow with the northern-based outlets doing as well as those in the south, Mr Kaye said. He added that restaurants generally were a better area to be in than other parts of retail.

The group put up prices a couple of months ago to offset rising utility, wage and food bills but Mr Kaye said its promotional activity in the first half of 2011 was no greater than in the previous year.

Douglas Jack, an analyst at Numis, kept his profit forecast of £16.1 million for 2011 unchanged, which he said allowed for tougher conditions in the second half of the year.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific