Pub and restaurant firm Oakman Inns & Restaurants has no plans to slow down its growth, despite the fact that Brexit has created a degree of uncertainty.
The news came as the business, which runs 15 all-day venues across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and the West Midlands, revealed like-for-like growth of 5.1% in the first quarter of 2016.
Chief executive Peter Borg-Neal (pictured) said the growth had slowed in recent weeks to around 2%. "We had expected some fall off as major sporting tournaments are negative for us but we, like most people, didn't anticipate the result of the EU referendum.
"I think it would be foolhardy to claim that the prevalent uncertainty in the economy is not of concern. Certainly, we believe that the economy will slow and there is a chance of recession. However, we have no London exposure and our focus on the prosperous South East provides a degree of reassurance.
"As ever, when the economy wobbles, the battle for market share tends to intensify. However, we have a robust strategy, excellent people and, importantly, the momentum of strong current performance."
And despite the uncertainty, Borg-Neal said that the company would continue to expand.
"We will not be slowing down our plans for growth and we have agreed terms for two more sites in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. These are in addition to the site we have previously acquired in Amersham. We already have an impressive pipeline to work with and expect to agree deals on some additional sites by the end of the summer," he said.
"The first Hunky Dory pub that Oakman will operate for Enterprise Inns will open in Solihull next month [August] and will become the third site in the fledgling Beech House brand."
Oakman was founded by Borg-Neal in 2007 when he opened the Akeman in Tring. It is shortlisted for the Pub and Bar Award at this year's Cateys, which take place in London this evening (5 July).
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