Po Na Na sales rise 3% over Christmas

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The Independent Online

Po Na Na, the late night bar operator, provided further evidence yesterday that revellers were out in force throughout the festive period.

The group, which operates the Middle Eastern-inspired Po Na Na and Fez Club brands, reported a 3.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales for the five weeks to 6 January.

Christian Arden, the chief executive, said the increase reflected the past year's focus on management and away from new openings. "We got all the management motivated with good promotions and good ideas. It wasn't the depressing time that people had expected," he said.

Po Na Na plans to open four more units before its financial year-end at the end of March, bringing the total to 60. Next year it will add 10, including a "super club" on Brighton's beachfront with capacity for 1,500. This will combine a daytime restaurant with a nightclub, differing from the group's late night bar focus.

The company will bring out a double CD next month, featuring Po Na Na's typical lounge and house music, capitalising on its strong brand awareness. A branded alcoholic or energy drink is expected to follow, said Mr Arden.

The group is expected to report a 58 per cent leap in pre-tax profit to £4m, boosted by strong trading at its Hammersmith Palais flagship venue. Its shares slipped 1p to 100.5p.

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