Patisserie Holdings chairman Luke Johnson believes the recent flurry of CVAs and unit vacancies have yet to impact the wider market, but predicted “the odd bargain” over the next 12-24 months.
Speaking to MCA off the back of the group’s half-year results, which showed revenue was up 9.1%, Johnson said fewer competitors pursuing similar sized units would benefit the group in time.
He also said consumer prices points were being reviewed at the core brand Patisserie Valerie, though any rises would not be drastic.
Meanwhile chief executive Paul May said the group managed to mitigate the worst of the bad weather by its vertically integrated model, the ability to deliver to all sites, and takeaway taking the slack from dine-in.
On the property market, May said: “Casual dining operates out of bigger units than what we would pick usually, so we’re not seeing increase or decreases – it’s business as usual.
Johnson said: “I don’t think the impact of CVAs and vacancies has come home to roost. I think in next 12-24 months, there should be odd bargain coming up. Certainly the number of competitors in our footprint space is falling. Over time that should benefit us.
“There is the worry that the weak shopping centres are seeing declines in footfall, so you have to be careful about taking sites that look exceptionally cheap.”
Johnson said the positive results, which included EBITDA for the period up 11.6% to £13.6m and pre-tax profits of £11.1m up 14.2%, were due the group renewing its business with new products, growing online sales, better digital marketing, and “having a solid customer base who are perhaps less fickle than some operators”.
New products include avocado on toast, slices, and wedding cakes.
Johnson said: “We have always had a broad range of offerings, and tastes have evolved. It’s about gradually adapting to new fashions without being too faddish.
“There’s a continuing effort to try and keep customers interested with something different and surprise them when they come in.
“We are reviewing prices currently – though there definitely won’t be drastic increases.”
May said after a successful new Philpotts in Manchester there were considering more openings, while Baler & Spice had also had two new openings.
He said there were seven brasseries formats running within larger Patisserie Valerie units, and this was site dependent, and if the landlord required a wider offer.