Comptoir Group, the AIM-listed operator of the Comptoir Libanais, Shawa and Yalla Yalla brands, has announced it is reducing its opening schedule for 2018, to four restaurants as it eyes a “cautious approach”.
The announcement was included in the group’s preliminary results for the year to 31 December, which showed group revenue up 21% to £21.5m and adjusted EBITDA up 7% to £2.7m. Adjusted pre-tax profit was 4% lower than last year at £1.6m. Taking into account restaurant opening cocts, non-trading items, share option charges and AIM listing fees, the group recorded a pre-tax loss of £1m.
The group opened six new restaurants during the period and acquired three, taking it to an estate of 22.
In total £7.5m was invested in fit-outs and the acquisition of Yalla Yalla and the purchase of the freehold, of its Central Processing Unit.
The group said trading in January and February had been below expectations, although improved in March.
The group said it had made the decision be more cautious in its approach to openings for the short term. Having over-delivered on its pipeline for 2016, the group expects just three sites to open in 2017 and four in 2018, although it said this may be revised up depending on site availability and market conditions.
The group said it believes there is scope to extend the presence of Yalla Yalla strategically to further London locations, as well as rolling out its Comptoir Libanais and Shawa brands to further new sites across the UK and exploring further opportunities to grow the Comptoir Libanais brand via franchising.