Itsu, the chain founded by Julian Metcalfe and led by Gerard Loughran, reported a drop in EBITDA for the year to 3 January 2013 to £3.26m, against £3.6m in 2011/2012, as turnover climbed 22% to £45.2m on the back of eight new site openings.

The group, which last week opened its first regional site in Oxford after a £1m investment, saw pre-tax profit fall from £960k to £95.7k, while net debt stood at £7.4m (2011/12: £4.6m).

The company said that growth was underpinned by “impressive like-for-like maturing store sales growth of 8.3%”.

The 43-strong Itsu, which secured a £14m finance deal through HSBC earlier this summer, expects to open 12 new outlets in total this year and is predicting annual turnover of £55m in its current financial year.

Metcalfe told M&C Report that the group could operate up to 80 sites under the smaller format in the capital alone alongside a regional rollout. He said: “There are still too many places where people don’t have the option of high-quality, healthy food.”

Regional expansion is part of its five-year plan, which also includes opening in two overseas territories, one of which is set to be the US in the next four years.

For the year to the 3 January, the company said that its margins were impacted by a decision to invest in menu improvements and by the costs of a number of new openings in the final quarter of the year.

It said: “While the overall market is not forecast to grow significantly in 2013, the company is well-placed to continue increasing its revenues by virtue of its growing brand strength and consumer appetite for fast healthy food.”

The HSBC loan is repayable in 2018.