The Restaurant Group eyes up to 90 site closures

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

The Restaurant Group eyes up to 90 site closures

Related tags Casual dining

The Restaurant Group (TRG) is to close up to 90 restaurants by the end of 2021.

The company wants to cut the size of its struggling leisure arm, which includes the Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s brands, from 350 sites to 260-275.

This will be achieved by through a combination of closures and converting sites to the successful Wagamama brand, which TRG bought for £559m in October 2018.

TRG expects to exit 31 sites at lease expiry or break clause and has earmarked a further 35 locations for accelerated disposal. Twelve freehold sites are currently on the market.

Last year the company reduced its overall estate by 18 sites, either through closures or conversions to Wagamama.

The leisure arm saw a 2.8% decline in like-for-like sales in 2019, an improvement on the prior year performance, which the company blamed on the “tough competitive” market.

TRG reported overall like-for-like sales growth of 2.7% for the year. Total sales rose 56.4% to £1.07bn following the Wagamama acquisition while profit before tax was £74.5m.

But the company recorded a statutory loss before tax of £37.3m, due to a £111.8m “impairment” in its leisure arm.

“I am...acutely aware of the challenges facing our leisure business and the wider casual dining sector,” says TRG CEO Andy Hornby, who joined the company last year.

“It is therefore clear that our strategic priorities need to evolve in order to maximise shareholder value in the medium term.”

At the end of 2019 TRG operated over 650 restaurants and pubs throughout the UK.

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