Casual dining chain Prezzo has endured a "challenging" start to the year, despite seeing revenues climb by 14% and profits rise 4% for the 26 weeks to 1 July 2012.
Revenue hit £68.1m for the first half of the year, compared to £59.6m over the same period a year before. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose to £7.6m, up from £7.3m.
Prezzo chairman Michael Carlton said that the year so far, with the Royal Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Olympic Games had been "somewhat atypical", with greater peaks and troughs in trading. Prezzo said it had not yet seen evidence of a sustained economic recovery.
Prezzo launched 12 new restaurants during the period (three of which were acquired from Caffe Uno late in 2011) and it had a total of 193 (compared with 168 in 2011) units trading at the end of the period.
Other openings included a new high profile London Prezzo, located within the newly-refurbished main concourse of the King's Cross railway station, together with sites in the South and South-east (Cobham, Arundel and Sevenoaks) as well as the North-west (Southport and New Brighton, on the Wirral).
The Chimichanga brand also saw new restaurants launch in Bournemouth, Bromley and Crawley, taking Prezzo group's Mexican format to 20 locations.
Prezzo said that since the end of the period it had opened a further three restaurants, but had also closed two restaurants, including the forced closure of its branch outside Victoria railway station where its lease has been terminated ahead of a major redevelopment of the terminus.
It plans to have opened about 25 new restaurants by the end of 2012. It also plans openings in several more major cities including Bristol, Bath and Manchester over the next 18 months.
By Neil Gerrard
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