The Restaurant Group, the listed casual dining group, has this morning reported a 0.25% increase in like-for-like sales and an 8% improvement in turnover. In a brief interim management statement for the 45 weeks to 7 November it said it had, “continued to make further good progress despite a tough economic backdrop and uncertainty over the outlook for employment which has adversely impacted our sector during 2010.” But the company, which operates Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Garfunkels, along with a clutch of pub restaurants, warned it expected to deliver a similar performance in 2011 - because of the weakened consumer environment. In a statement the group, which is led by chief executive Andrew Page, said: “Looking forward to 2011, we expect a continuation of current trading conditions with ongoing pressures on consumer spending from tax rises and potentially higher unemployment.” The company opened 18 new restaurants in the year, which it said were “excellent” and had delivered strong returns. It intends to open between 23 and 25 by the end of 2010 and wants to open between 22 and 27 new sites in 2011. The group also said it expected to announce a “meaningful reduction” in its debt position at its year-end compared with 2009. TRG concluded: “Our distinct market positioning with strong brands, experienced and motivated teams, our focus on delivering consistently excellent levels of service and hospitality with great value-for-money offerings will, in the absence of a significant downturn in the economy, enable the Group to continue its profitable development.” Douglas Jack, a Numis Securities analyst, said the increase in same-restaurant sales came from "improvements in all areas". Holding his full-year forecast for pre-tax profits at £55.5m, Jack added: "Forecasts should be supported by strong performances by new restaurants and a good cinema release schedule."