Richoux Group, the London-based restaurant group formerly known as Gourmet Holdings, said this morning its operating loss had narrowed to £1.57m in 2009, down from £2.1m the year before. Revealing its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 27 December 2009 the AIM-listed group, which recently resigned the lease of its Soho Richoux restaurant, reported that turnover had slipped from £5.56m to £5.02m. The operating loss on continuing operations before impairment was flat at £0.3m. The fall in turnover was blamed on the closure of its Amato restaurants, as the company said that gross profit from continuing operations had also slumped from £0.38m to £0.14m. The company, which is led by chairman Philip Shotter, said that its core Richoux restaurants were trading well with “increased profitability”. It currently has four Richoux restaurants in Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Piccadilly and St John’s Wood. It also revealed that it was on the verge of opening a new concept in Chatham, Kent, called Frankie’s Easy Diner – an American style-dining format. Last year Richoux opened Zippers, a mid-market pizza and pasta restaurant in the same town and said initial trading was in line with expectations. A decrease in the total group restaurants' gross profit before pre-opening costs percentage from 8% to 5% during the year, was blamed on the performance of Amato and the new Richoux restaurants in High Wycombe and Old Compton Street. It said that administrative expenses for continuing operations (before impairment and onerous lease provision) of £0.44m were in line with expectations. The company added that an impairment provision of £0.87m related to the fitting-out of the Richoux in High Wycombe and the rebranding of the Old Compton Street restaurant as a Richoux following the subsequent decision to close them. There was an onerous lease provision of £0.40m is in respect of the Richoux restaurant in High Wycombe, which the group is still looking to sell. Shotter, Richoux’s chairman admitted trading conditions remained challenging but said that the group had continued to develop new concepts and a “measured expansion” is being considered.