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Comptoir group remains ‘confident’ despite crisis

The Comptoir group has revealed it remains “confident” for the business, despite group revenue falling 2.7% to £33.4m in the full-year ended 31 December 2019. 

Gross profit increased 0.6% to £24.9m, however. The group added that despite the “challenging” economic climate, trading for the full year has been in line with board expectations. 

In its latest trading update, Comptoir said it has now ended the year with a “relatively healthy” cash balance, which has been achieved “despite the challenging trading environment resulting from the well-publicised cost pressures within the industry and increasing general uncertainty in the market”.

In efforts to strengthen its cash position during the pandemic, the group has deferred all rent payments due for the March to June quarter, and is continuing negotiations with landlords in this area.

It has also postponed all but essential capital expenditure, and “significantly reduced” its directors’ remuneration packages.

Richard Kleiner, chairman of the group, said: “We find ourselves in a period of unprecedented uncertainty with the impact from the low consumer confidence previously seen across the sector now very much taking second place to the more immediate unchartered territory coming from the societal impact of Covid19.

“Despite this and up until the direct impact on trading from Covid-19 in early March, the board is pleased to announce that the group has once again demonstrated its resilience to deliver during a continued challenging and uncertain trading environment.”

Chaker Hanna, CEO, said: “Currently the group’s focus is on addressing the short and medium term challenges we face associated with the COVID-19 virus. This does not change the board’s confidence in the business and its proposition over the long term. 

“Our focus will continue to be on ensuring the business is well-placed to continue to deliver once we emerge from this crisis.”

He added: “The board believes the group’s current restaurant estate continues to have potential for further organic growth through selective new owned sites and opportunities with our franchise partners when the right economic conditions return.

“Setting the COVID-19 and the related current challenges aside, I believe our business continues to be well-positioned in the restaurant sector and can continue to provide our customers with a unique experience, offering excellent quality, well-priced, healthy food, with welcoming family hospitality, differentiated to many other restaurant operations.”

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