Belfast Telegraph

Wagamama faces headwinds, boss warns

UK sales grew at 6.3% in the second quarter, less than half than in the first three months of the year.

Wagamama opened six restaurants in the last three months (Eggmedia Ltd/PA)
Wagamama opened six restaurants in the last three months (Eggmedia Ltd/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

The boss of restaurant chain Wagamama has warned the company will face industry-wide headwinds as it prepares for 2020.

Emma Woods said that the pan-Asian chain would not be able to avoid some issues, after a quarter where growth halved.

“We look forward to 2020, and whilst we don’t expect to be immune to the various headwinds facing our industry, we will stay true to our positive culture and growth mindset,” she said.

It came as like-for-like sales grew 6.3% in the UK in the second quarter, a marked slowdown on 12.9% in the first three months of the year.

Overall turnover rose 11% to £93.5 million in the quarter, as it opened six new restaurants and a delivery kitchen. They included sites in Heathrow’s Terminal Three and Old Street in London.

“I am thrilled to say has delivered another quarter of strong outperformance versus the market with a number of record restaurant sales weeks,” Ms Woods said.

The company said it had managed to sell deliveries for £1 million in one week for the first time.

Sales in the US did considerably better than in the UK, with turnover jumping 12.5% over the quarter on a like-for-like basis, the company said on Monday.

The results come a year after The Restaurant Group eked out a win in the battle to take over the restaurant chain.

The Frankie & Benny’s owner managed to get a £559 million bid for Wagamama past its shareholders, despite a major investor rebellion.

In a vote only around 60% of shareholders supported the deal, which took Wagamama private.

Investors have been worried over increasing pressure on the high street which has forced a number of chains to scale back their sites.

Six months ago TV chef Jamie Oliver was forced to shut 22 restaurants, laying off around 1,000 members of staff. Only three Jamie’s Italian were saved.

PA

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