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Restaurant Group reports £235m loss, despite strong September trading

The Restaurant Group has reported a pre-tax loss of £235m for the first half of the year, despite “strong” September trading.

Its Wagamama chain saw a like-for-like sales growth of 11% in the 11 weeks leading up to 20 September, which the group said was a 5% overperformance compared to the rest of the restaurant market.

The group’s Leisure brand, made up of its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito chains, saw a like-for-like sales growth of 4%, with its former 350 sites set to be reduced to 140.

Its 75-strong portfolio of pubs saw like-for-like sales grow by 14%, with suburban and rural areas outperforming city centres.

Andy Hornby, chief executive officer, said: ‘‘It has been an extraordinary and difficult period for the hospitality sector but one in which we have pulled together to achieve a great deal.  

‘‘The priority throughout has been the safety of our colleagues and customers, and we have also accelerated the reshaping of our portfolio, resulting in a higher quality, diversified estate.’’

He added: ‘‘Since reopening, I am genuinely pleased with the strength of our trading performance and would like to sincerely thank each and every one of our colleagues for their extraordinary efforts. 

‘‘Whilst the sector outlook is uncertain, and we are mindful of recent restrictions across the UK, we are confident that the actions we have taken provide us with strong foundations to emerge as one of the long-term winners.’’

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