Yo! Sushi lifts high-street gloom

08 January 2008 by
Yo! Sushi lifts high-street gloom

Despite the gloom over some sections of the high-street dining market Yo! Sushi bucked the trend last year with strong financial growth.

In the year to 25 November, the company reported a 42% rise in post-tax profit to £4.3m with like-for-like sales up 6%.

Sales, which includes contributions from new openings, was £35m.

Chief executive Robin Rowland led a management buyout of the company backed by Primary Capital in 2003.

Rowland told Caterersearch: "We have kept our heads down since the MBO doing unusual sites in shopping centres and concessions. Our growth is really down to improving the quality of our operations."

The sushi chain now has 30 restaurants in the UK and 10 overseas run by franchise partners, including sites in Ireland, Russia, Malaysia and the Gulf.

Rowland said the plan was to open eight restaurants in 2008 with "many more" overseas.

"Customers are coming to us, which is more relevant now than when we first started. We first started as a niche offer but the brand now stands for something. We are doing something different to what other people are doing."

Rowland insisted there was still strong business to be had on the high-street, particularly if the right location was found.

He sited Asian-themed chain Wagamama as a chain performing well and getting close to the growth Yo! Sushi was showing.

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By Christopher Walton

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