Individual Restaurant Company (IRC), the operator of the Piccolino brand, has warned that bad weather at the start of its year and the impact of the World Cup could lead to a £0.6m drop in pre-tax profits. However, in a trading update ahead of its interim results for the 26 weeks to 4 July 2010 it said the group’s earnings “remain heavily weighted towards the second half”. It added that since England’s exit from the World Cup it had seen a return to like-for-like sales levels that had been achieved at the start of May, which were ahead of the same period last year. In a statement, IRC, which is led by Steven Walker, chief executive, said: “The board is encouraged that excluding the exceptional events experienced in the first half trading was in line with the board's expectations and like for like sales are now in growth. “The directors remain confident that the group remains well placed to take advantage of the opportunities which should arise if the current underlying trading trends are sustained.” IRC’s interim results will be announced on 13 September 2010.