Belgo Group reported half-year pre-tax profits up 13% to £2.2m on turnover up from £17m to £19.9m, despite an increasingly difficult market.

The company, the operator of

Bierodrome bars, Le Strada pizza restaurants, The Ivy, Le Caprice, J Sheekey and Daphne's, as well as the eponymous mussels-and-beers restaurants, said trading in the last few months had been difficult because of an increasingly competitive London market.

The Strada chain was developing well: six had opened in about the year since launch and site availability remained encouraging.

But Bierodrome was having problems finding appropriate sites, although the format had been well received.

Belgo now has 22 restaurants trading in the UK and one in Ireland after closing Belgo New York, which never took off, and its outlet in the Channel Islands.

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