Yo! Sushi has seen a 5.5% rise in like-for-like sales in 2016 although the company made a pre-tax loss of £23m.
Turnover at the 71-strong sushi chain in the year to 27 November 2016 was up 2.1% in the UK from £81.6m in 2015 to £83.3m in 2016, with a company-wide turnover of £88m.
EBITDA was £10.8m, reflecting the company’s brand re-investment and conclusion of two leases at Paddington Station and Glasgow House of Fraser. During the period, six older sites were closed down, “where the lease has lapsed or there was an opportunity to caplitalise on a premium”, while the group opened a further four in the UK.
However, the company swung from an operating profit of £2.4m in 2015 to an operating loss of £2.2m in 2016 in the UK, which contributed to a £12.8m loss company-wide.
This was partly due to the company’s restructuring strategy, which has seen write-downs on its assets in the US, where the company is aiming to expand, after taking what it said was a “prudent” view on the move.
Yo! Sushi has shifted its strategy away from franchised sites in shopping malls in the US and is now focusing on company-owned downtown hubs in cities such as Boston and Manhattan.
Yo! Sushi was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015. The initial set-up and exit costs associated with the sites in the US, which were acquired under previous ownership have been written off as unrecoverable in the short term.
Since the acquisition, the company’s aim was to position it for further growth by rearranging the management team and reviewing the brand.
This includes changes to the way the restaurants are marketed, designed and operated.
Yo! Sushi CEO Robin Rowland said: “FY 2016 was transformational for YO! Following a full strategic review with our new owners, Mayfair, we’ve reset the business to best position it for long term future growth. This has been reflected in 5.5%+ like-for-like sales growth for the last 12 consecutive months. We now have the people and product to take the business forward, and 2017 will be about taking advantage of the significant opportunities that now exist for the brand.”
Since the end of the financial year, Yo! Sushi has opened four new UK sites, including the central London Tottenham Court Road restaurant, taking the estate to 76 UK sites in total. It has also launched a pop-up at Boxpark Croydon as part of the strategy to refresh the way the brand interacts with customers.
Yo! Sushi now has 71 sites in the UK, with 15 franchise locations – an increase of three compared to the year prior.
Central Manhattan, New York and four international franchised sites have opened in Paris and Sydney airports taking total global estate to 93 sites.
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