A "strong" festive period has boosted like-for-like sales at the Restaurant Group, but the company still saw full-year like-for-like sales decline 2%, according to a trading update this morning.
The independent restaurant firm - whose brands include Frankie & Benny's, Garfunkel's and Chiquito - said that its like-for-like sales for the 46 weeks to 15 November were running at 3% lower than the same period in 2008. But trading in the final six weeks of the year to 27 December 2009 lifted the firm's full-year performance.
It said that it expected to report profits "well ahead" of the top of the range of current market forecasts when it delivers its 2009 full-year results in early March 2010.
The Restaurant Group opened 19 new venues during 2009 and it said that trading at the sites has been "well ahead" of expectations. The company is hoping to open a further 15 to 20 restaurants in 2010.
"We are expecting a continuation of these challenging economic conditions and will be focusing our efforts on delivering further profitable progress in 2010," the company said in a statement.
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