Azzurri Group has reported a group sales increase of 7% for the year ended 30 June 2019, to £299.4m, with like-for-like sales growth seen across its four brands.

The group, which operates Zizzi, ASK Italian, Coco di Mama and Radio Alice, achieved a 3% increase in full-year adjusted EBITDA, from £37m to £38.1m, but said that cost pressures impacted its EBITDA margin, which declined from 13.2% the previous year, to 12.7%.

During the course of the year it opened ten new sites and carried out 29 refurbishments, while the expansion of Coca di Mama has been accelerated with the acquisition of 13 Pod sites in the summer.

Four Pod sites have already been converted to Coco di Mama and are trading ahead of expectations, said Azzurri.

The group has also increased its presence internationally, with a third Zizzi location now open in the Republic of Ireland and its first opening in Shanghai.

The group said it remained confident in the future despite ongoing sector-wide challenges, and would continue to focus on refurbishments, food innovation as well as accelerating the pace of the Pod conversions to Coco Di Mama sites.

Steve Holmes, chief executive, Azzurri Group, said: “I am pleased to announce that 2019 was a good year for Azzurri, with growth in both revenue and profit. We built on last year’s momentum as a leading operator in the Italian casual dining sector and expanded our presence in the food-to-go market.”

It invested £20m of capex in its estate this year – across the UK and internationally, with the Zizzi brand – which marks its 20th birthday this year – having seen “the vast majority” of its investment, with 17 restaurants undergoing transformation this year.

Holmes said ASK Italian had made good progress this year, in terms of sales and profit, with the brand constantly evolving its menus.

“This has been a transformational year for Coco di Mama, with solid profit progression and strong returns on our investment,” he added. “We opened two new stores in the year and were delighted to acquire up to 13 Pod sites, which set us up well for accelerated growth in the future. We have a robust pipeline of new stores to convert into Coco di Mama over the next year and are excited about our prospects for this business.”

For Radio Alice, he said the last year had been all about building brand awareness and increasing footfall as these restaurants, with its third now open in London, in Canary Wharf.

Azzurri Group’s estate now total 311 restaurants.