Chameleon Bar & Dining, the north of England operator, has reported a rise in profit and turnover for the year to 31 March 2011 as it shifted the sales mix and tenure of its estate.

Pre-tax profit for the seven-strong group increased 37.3% to £75,313 on turnover up 6.6% to £4.36m, according to accounts published at Companies House. Operating profit increased 66.9% to £225,595.

The company, which is led by Phil Strong, said it’s strategy is to “move to emphasis of the business from leasehold to freehold” - three of its sites are freehold, with four leasehold.

“The full year effect of this policy has impacted on the year ending March 2011 with an increase in turnover, an increase in interest charges and an increase in profit with consequential improvements in taxation.” Interest charges in the year were £151,045 (2010: £83,717).

Chameleon added: “The company has recognised that there is significant benefit in offering good quality food with ingredients sourced locally and has successfully moved the business emphasis away from bar trade towards other sources of income, in particular food.

“In the year, the gross profit from these other sources of income now represents over 50% of the total gross profit.”

Strong told M&C Report that the company hoped to add another site, a freehold, over the next year or so.

“We are cautious about the sites that we look at. There are a lot of bottom end sites being sold. Better sites are generally not coming on the market because people feel they don’t need to sell them.”

Planned capex over the coming year includes a £250k investment in letting rooms at Greaves Park in Lancaster, Strong added.

The company changed its name from Chameleon Pub Company in the period and also merged with New Century Enterprises, the accountancy services provider headed by industry veteran Alistair Arkley, who is also a director of Chameleon.

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