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Bad weather has silver lining for Gowrings

26 August 2004
Bad weather has silver lining for Gowrings

This summer's poor weather has helped UK Burger King franchisee Gowrings increase profits at its restaurants and narrow its overall losses in the past six months, it revealed today.

Interim results to the end of June reported turnover at £15m, slightly down on the £15.5m posted at the same point last year. Losses before tax were £832,000, compared with £916,000 last time round.

The company sold its accident repair centres business in June to give it space to focus on its restaurant operations.

While the effect of this decision had yet to filter through into these results, the restaurant businesses was looking promising, said chairman and chief executive Derek Coulson.

Restaurant profits before administrative costs were up by £278,000 to £441,000, from £163,000 in 2003.

The unseasonal summer weather had helped, as people took shelter from the rain and wind, Gowrings said.

The second half of the year was historically stronger for the restaurant division, and sales in July and August had been ahead of last year, Coulson added.

"Our key focus remains to continue to improve retained margins and to look at opportunities to rationalise our estate.

"With no new restaurant openings planned a further reduction in borrowings will be another objective," he said.

Overall sales in the restaurant business were down from £15.5m to £14.97m, with like-for-like sales down by 5%.

This was the result of a "very quiet" first four months of the year, particularly on the high street, said Coulson.

Since May, however, things had been looking up, helped by the poorer weather. "We experienced no adverse effect from the Euro 2004 championships with sales on a like-for-like basis up in June," Coulson added.

Trading in July and August had also been positive, helped again by the weather and promotions linked to the films Shrek II and Spiderman.

by Nic Paton

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