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UK casual dining market remains good, says La Tasca boss

05 July 2005

The boss of Spanish tapas chain La Tasca has shrugged off suggestions that weak consumer spending will hit the high-street restaurant market.

Chief executive James Horler said the figures in UK casual dining remained good. "Dining out is becoming a lifestyle thing. People want to eat out and socialise, so it will take a pretty big downturn to affect growth," he said.

Turnover for its maiden full-year results to 30 April was 22.8% higher than last year at £48.8m. Pre-tax profit shot up 55.6% to £2.4m (2004: £1.5m).

The group will open its 50th UK La Tasca in Oxford this September and Horler said he remained confident of expanding the chain by 10 to 12 units a year.

As part of this La Viña, the company's more upmarket Spanish bar/restaurant concept launched last year, will open a third unit in Leeds this year with other sites in discussion.

A third managed American restaurant is due to open in Baltimore this November.

Horler predicted the business had the potential to expand to 100 restaurants in the UK.

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