Wasabi Sushi & Bento has said it is still confident new UK openings would be a success and is looking to grow its portfolio of sites.

“The group continues to research and evaluate opportunities to expand its portfolio within the UK and to maintain its competitive position in the food-to-go-sector,” it said in its most recent accounts for the year to 52 weeks to 25 December 2021, just published at Companies House.

The group saw an improvement across its estate for the eight months following the Covid trading restrictions at the beginning of 2021, with comparable sales now in line with pre-Covid 2019 levels.

During the period it continued to expand across London, in both city and suburban locations, opening new locations in London Bridge, Putney and Clapham Junction, however three sites were also closed during 2021. Early 2022 saw the opening of a site in Kingston.

“The expansion into more suburban areas is a result of the strong sales performance of similar suburban sites in the existing estate, and the business sees this as an attractive area for future growth,” read the accounts.

Wasabi said it had made considerable progress in continuing to develop other revenue streams for the business, with its delivery business now a “significantly different proposition” to pre-Covid, as the business has benefited from partnerships with all the major delivery aggregators to continue to drive revenue streams as consumers habits evolve.

Its partnership with Sainsbury’s in the UK had also seen continued success, with sales up year-on-year due to growth in the product range and distribution across the supermarket retailer’s estate, it added.

Wasabi said it planned to open further successful restaurants in the UK alongside improving the level of performance of its existing portfolio at the same time.

Turnover for the group, which includes Wasabi Sushi Bento limited, Wasabi Co Ltd and the companies that make up its business in the USA, was £68.5m for the year, compared to £50.9m in 2020.

The group achieved a gross profit of £23.7m but recorded loss before tax of £11.9m. However, its EBITDA performance improved by 125.8% to +£2m, compared to a loss of £7.8m the previous year.

As at 25 December 2021 the group had net liabilities of £41.4m, compared to £30.4m in 2020.