Italian café-cum-restaurant chain Carluccio's has continued to defy expectations of a drop off in consumer spending by boosting sales in the first three months of the year.
The Italian chain said that its sales for the 26 weeks ending 23 March had grown by 19% year-on-year in a trading update today.
Carluccio's said that its strategy of measured openings and all-day trading at its sites, which include food shops, meant it was well prepared for any downturn.
The company, which has an average spends per head of £12 in the restaurant and £8 in its retail shops, operates 35 restaurants including new openings in Stratford-upon-Avon, Manchester and Heathrow T5.
Sites in London St Pancras Station and Cambridge will open in mid-April and June respectively. Openings in Leicester and Bristol are scheduled for 2009.
Yesterday analyst group Horizons warned that rising food costs and over-capacity in the mid-market eating sector was likely to lead to a high number of business failures later in the year.
Already this year wet-led Sports Café, Massive Pub Company, CanDu and Soho Clubs and Bars have entered administration, alongside the more food orientated Laurel Pub Group.
By Christopher Walton
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