Café Rouge owner Tragus felt the chill over the Christmas period, with like-for-like sales across its restaurant estate down 3%. The group said customers’ inability to reach many of its 289 sites, which include the Bella Italia and Strada formats, inevitably hit its performance in what is a key period for the trade. Ahead of the snow in the six months ended 28 November, group revenue increased 2.9%. Tragus opened four new restaurants in the first half of the year and said it remained on course to open 15 by May, the end of its current financial year. It has also refreshed about a third of its 71-strong Strada estate to date and said it had seen strong trading at those updated sites as a result. Tragus chief executive Graham Turner signalled the business would be looking for opportunities to expand through acquisition during 2011. Turner added: “Given the continuing tight fiscal conditions in the UK and the increase in VAT that was effective at the start of January we remain cautious on the overall economic outlook for 2011.”