Itsu is on course to make £2m next year even though the such restaurant group’s Piccadilly branch is temporarily closed in the wake of the Litvinenko radiation poisoning furore. The Times says it seems that no sort of publicity can be bad publicity, even when it involves a restaurant and a poisoning. It is now known that the former Russian spy was not poisoned there but had merely visited the venue, owned by Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe. The newspaper describes how staff had a “terrifying” week waiting for the results of urine tests only to be found to be clear. Metcalfe, however, refused to have the “ridiculous” test. He says in some ways, the publicity had been good for the brand but he wished it had never happened. The restaurant is preparing to reopen early next year. Metcalfe retains a 33% stake in Pret A Manger, which is on course for profits next year of £25m. He says he got frequent approaches from deal-hungry bankers with plans for a flotation or sale but he was not even entertaining the idea. The Times 16/12/06 page 55