Essenden, the ten pin bowling operator, which is currently considering acquisition opportunities across the restaurant and bar sectors, has reported a 0.7% increase in like-for-like sales for the 26 weeks to 30 June 2013.

EBITDA climbed 24% to £2.9m, while average unit EBITDA increased to £10k per unit for H1 to £175k (2012: £165k). Pre-tax profits stood at £1.3m up 66%(2012: £0.8m). Turnover for the period was £24.3m (2012: £24.7m) on the back of closures of the group’s site in Milton Keynes and Liverpool.

Nick Basing, chief executive, said: “Despite choppy waters, we have managed to hold our course. All measures of performance are pointing the right way.”

The company said that its site in Chester has been given notice by the landlord and will close at the end of October.

It said that its Tenpin brand has now experienced 18 months of like-for-like growth despite the continued economic pressures and in this half year, the snowfall in January that impacted a key trading period.

The company said that a significant part of the increase in profits has come from cost efficiency realised across key operational lines including labour (£120k saving in the period) and utilities (£215k saving).

It said that it continued to engage with landlords in a number of creative ways to reconfigure some of its leases in an attempt to make them more economic; “the challenge is to get the landlords to work at the pace with which we wish to proceed”.

Basing said: “We are continuing with the process of seeking out a transformational step change to our business and remain solely focused on enhancing shareholder value in everything we do.”