Simon Potts, managing director of The Alchemist, has told MCA like-for-like sales are currently up 10% as the group heads towards the halfway point of the year.

The group this week reported turnover for the year to 31 March up 52% to £22.6m, with EBITDA growing to £3.4m. The group’s Newcastle site, which opened in March traded at a loss during the period because of pre-opening costs but Potts said it was now performing at full strength.

Potts told MCA: “We were pleased with our figures from 16-17, which were the result of some fantastic work from everyone involved with The Alchemist brand.

“We’ve not stopped to pat ourselves on the back though and the business is gearing up for another busy year of expansion. We’ve worked hard to ensure that we have the operational capacity in place to deliver the five new planned site openings so they hit their markets positively, as well as maintaining the underlying growth of a busy mature estate.

“We’ve started the year very brightly and as we approach the half way mark, we’re currently trading at +10%. We’re delighted with that growth and pleased that guests are seeking us out for the service and experience that we work so hard to consistently deliver.”

The 10-strong Palatine Private Equity-backed cocktail bar and restaurant concept has two further openings in Media City and Oxford lined up for later this year, and has acquired new sites in Nottingham (former Hard Rock Café on King Street), Bristol (Queen’s Road) and Cardiff (former NatWest Bank on St Mary Street), which will all open by the end of next April.

In April the group appointed Victoria Stewart as its new finance director.