The Restaurant Group (TRG) today became the latest high-street hospitality operator to warn about a drop in consumer spending after experiencing a slowdown in sales in the last quarter of 2007.
The company, which runs 300 pubs and restaurants in the UK under brands including Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkels, said like-for-like sales growth in the final quarter was just 1% (2006: 7%).
For the full-year ending on 30 December, like-for-like sales increased by 5.5% but the sharp slowdown in the final quarter overshadowed the figure for the year.
Speaking at the launch of the trading statement, Andrew Page, TRG chief executive, said: "We anticipate tighter consumer conditions."
A number of casual dining operators have been hit by tightening economic conditions.
In December, Clapham House announced it was cutting back its plans for expansion because of higher financing costs, while Walkabout owner Regent Inns blamed "growing consumer caution" for its profit warning.
But TRG said trading at 36 new restaurants opened last year had been "very encouraging" adding that it was "very pleased" with the performance of pub company Brunning and Price, which was acquired last October.
By Daniel Thomas
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