Italian restaurant chain Prezzo has reported strong full year results for what was potentially a "difficult year" and said while it was positive about the future there were still challenges ahead.
The company, which operates 140 sites across the UK, posted a 12% rise in pre-tax profits to £12.9m in the 12 months to 27 December 2009, while gross or restaurant profit increased 7.5% to £13.8m. Revenue was up 6% to £91m.
Prezzo chairman Michael Carlton said he was delighted the company had performed so strongly in what could have been a very difficult year.
"While the first quarter of 2010 has started somewhat encouragingly, there are still likely to be challenges ahead for the UK consumer and therefore businesses in our sector," he added.
"Mindful of this, we will continue to focus on the quality of our offering and our value proposition and we will continue to develop our relationship with our loyal customers with innovative and value-added marketing initiatives."
Prezzo plans to open 10 new sites in 2010, with restaurants in Crawley, Eastleigh and Beckenham set to open this month.
In January, Prezzo bought its first hotel, the 26-bedroom George Hotel in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.
The company, which acquired the freehold of the property from Punch, will open a Prezzo restaurant on the ground floor and in the basement after carrying out a major refurbishment.
By Kerstin Kühn
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