The managing director of restaurant chain Carluccio's has said that while Christmas hasn't come early, it will eventually arrive for UK operators and retailers alike.
Revealing the company's full-year results to 28 September Simon Kossoff told Caterersearch that for a number of years the critical Christmas trading period had been arriving later and later each year.
"We're holding our nerve and avoiding heavy discounting," said Kossoff, whose company also has a strong retail element to its business. "Christmas will arrive."
Carluccio's, which has opened three new sites since its year end taking its total to 41, will launch its first restaurant in the Middle East from March onwards, having singed a franchise deal with retailer Landmark Group.
The deal, signed in October, covers six countries in the Middle East and Kossoff said Landmark had major aspirations for the Carluccio's brand in the region.
Carluccio's has also responded to the consultation on tips via the British Hospitality Association, and Kossoff expressed concern that the Government's plans, expected to come into force next October, remain unclear.
However, in comparison with its premium casual dining rivals, Carluccio's claims to trade at a price point 3% lower on average and said that this would protect its competitiveness if wage bills increase as a result of action on tips.
Turnover for the full year increased 20% to £64.1m (2007: £53.3m) at Carluccio's with pre-tax profit 14% higher at £5.6m (2007: £4.9m).
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By Chris Druce
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