Belfast Telegraph

Bill’s slumps into the red after refurbishment programme

But the 78-site chain said it has seen strong sales in the new year after reaping the rewards of its investment plan.

Bill’s slumped to a loss after heavy investment in to refurbishments (Bill’s/PA)
Bill’s slumped to a loss after heavy investment in to refurbishments (Bill’s/PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Restaurant chain Bill’s slid into the red last year after it was weighed down by refurbishment and restructuring costs.

The restaurant business owned by the Ivy-owner Richard Caring swung to the loss after it was hit by more than £10 million of exceptional costs including management restructuring costs and impairments.

However, the 78-site chain said it has seen strong sales in the new year after reaping the rewards of its ambitious investment programme.

Bill’s Restaurants fell to a £9.1 million loss for the 17 months to December 2018, from a £3.5 million profit for the year to July 2017.

For the extended accounting period, Bill’s reported sales of £175 million, compared with sales of £118.5 million for the previous 12-month period.

The company said it saw earnings before tax and interest slide to a disappointing £9.9 million, from £13.6 million in the prior period, on the back of the challenging economic conditions affecting the casual dining sector.

Bill’s launched a major refurbishment programme, directed by founder Bill Collison, during the year to invigorate the business.

It also made changes among its executive, operations and marketing teams in a restructuring which cost almost £1.2 million, according to the recently released Companies House accounts.

The refurbishment programme continued into the new year, meaning 27 sites – 40% of its store estate – had a makeover by the end of September 2019.

Bill’s said the refurbishments have helped to drive performance above expectations, with the company reporting 8.8% like-for-like growth over the first three quarters of 2019.

The restaurant group said the momentum has also helped to boost profitability, with earnings before tax and interest rising rapidly.

It said it plans to complete the refurbishment programme across its entire estate following the recent sales growth.

PA

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