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Conran makes plans for 32nd restaurant

01 December 2003 by
Conran makes plans for 32nd restaurant

Despite reporting a "tough" financial year, Sir Terence Conran is to announce the acquisition of his 32nd restaurant within the next two weeks.

Named Paternoster Chop House, the restaurant will be located in Paternoster Square and will have more than 100 seats. There are no further details at this stage.

News of the forthcoming opening comes hot on the heels of the publication of Conran's latest trading figures for the year ended 31 March. During the year, profit at Conran's restaurants worldwide came in at £2.4m before tax, down from £2.5m last year. Turnover rose to £58.6m, from £57.2m.

Conran has restaurants across the UK and abroad in Paris, Stockholm and New York.

In the UK and Europe, the restaurants turned over £52m, compared with £51m the previous year.

Profit, before reorganisation costs, remained unchanged at £3.6m. The reorganisation included the decision to close the loss-making Bluebird food store in London and relaunch the Guastavino restaurant in New York.

One restaurant was opened during the year: the 92-seat Zinc in Fulham, London.

At the 267-bedroom Great Eastern hotel in London, of which Conran owns 50%, turnover stood at £24.4m, compared with £25.4m last year. Profit dipped to £4m, from last year's £4.5m.

Conran Holdings, the parent company, reported turnover up by 1% to £114m. Pre-tax profit fell to £1.8m against £2.3m the previous year.

Since April, the beginning of this financial year, Conran has opened four restaurants. These are the 90-seat Zinc and the 70-seat Etain, both in Glasgow, and the 300-seat Royal Exchange Grand Caf‚ and Bar and the 140-seat Plateau, both in London.

Chief executive Des Gunewardena said that trading so far this year had been "solid".

He said: "It has been the longest period of like-for-like sales growth I've seen in our restaurants for quite some time."

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