PizzaExpress plots new expansion as restaurants outperform market

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

PizzaExpress plots new expansion as restaurants outperform market following lifting of restrictions

Related tags PizzaExpress Casual dining Multi-site expansion Coronavirus

PizzaExpress is 'well underway' with plans to open 50 new restaurants over the next three years.

The group has reported strong results for the year to 5 September 2021, achieving revenues of £182.5m and EBITDA of £22.2m for the period.

Sales outperformed the CGA Peach market tracker for every week but one since the return to unrestricted dining on 19 July 2021 (+3.7% ahead of the market for the 7 weeks 19 July 2021 to 5 September 2021).

Chief executive David Campbell described 2021 as a 'transformational' year for the brand.

He said: “We traded strongly during lockdown across delivery and click and collect, growing the business and extending our partnership with Deliveroo. Delivery and click and collect continues to trade strongly. In retail, where we are a Top 100 brand, we have seen both increased distribution and exciting new product development.

“Our core dine-in business has performed well since the reopening of restriction free dining. We are greatly encouraged to see that the combination of product innovation, enhanced service, better marketing – particularly across digital platforms, diminished discounts and prices held at 2019 levels has driven our outperformance of the market."

Last year PizzaExpress closed 74 restaurants as part of a major recapitalisation and restructuring​ that also saw it deleverage its debts, provide new liquidity and divest its mainland China business. 

An additional 23 sites were subsequently returned to landlords​.

Approximately 2,400 roles across PizzaExpress' UK business were made redundant in 2020, however, the group did launch a nationwide campaign earlier this year to recruit 1,000 staff as its restaurants reopened​ following the third national lockdown. 

Campbell said that following the long-term refinancing of the group, plans are 'well underway' to open 50 new restaurants over the next three years, beginning later this month with a new Cannock site in Staffordshire.

A refurbishment programme for 300 of PizzaExpress's existing restaurants is also underway. 

“With a strong balance sheet under new ownership and management, we will continue to drive investment to grow the brand above and beyond new openings and refurbishments.

“As long as we can keep trading without restrictions in the UK & Ireland for the rest of 2021, we anticipate a continuation of good trading for the rest of the year and are optimistic about prospects for 2022 and beyond.”

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