The Restaurant Group warns over consumer spending

05 January 2009 by
The Restaurant Group warns over consumer spending

Consumers are still eating out at weekends but are having second thoughts about going to restaurants during the week, the chief executive of The Restaurant Group (TRG) warned today.

Unveiling a trading update that revealed a 5% drop in like-for-like sales in the last seven weeks of the year, Andrew Page said the economy had taken a "twist downwards" from mid-November.

This meant that, while consumers were still eating out at weekends, they were being more cautious about going out for a meal midweek, he said.

Blubeckers, the pub restaurant brand based largely in the south-east of England was particularly badly affected, he said, although the group's other pub restaurants, based in the north-west, had performed well.

In the 52 weeks to December 28 like-for-like sales at TRG rose by 1.5%. Page said this was a "creditable performance" and added that the group still expected to meet market expectations when it releases annual results in early March.

The group, which also owns Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito, is generally more resilient than many other high-street operators as it runs 48 concessions, mainly in airports, which guarantee footfall.

During 2008, TRG opened 40 restaurants and closed 16, partly because of the opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5 and the redevelopment of Gatwick's South Terminal.

TRG to scale back on new restaurant openings>>

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The Restaurant Group serves 30 million meals in 2007>>
The Restaurant Group warns of drop in consumer spending>>

By Daniel Thomas

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