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Snow dents December for IRC

Piccolino operator cautious on 2011 outlook

Published on February 2nd 2011.

Snow dents December for IRC

The December snow put a dent in takings for casual dining chain operator Individual Restaurant Company Plc (IRC).

The firm, which operates 33 restaurants under the Piccolino and Bar & Grill brands, said it had entered the Christmas trading period with ‘considerable optimism’ but the severe weather conditions led to a four per cent drop in like for like sales for December.

In a pre-close trading update for the year ended 31 December 2010, IRC said that as soon as the snow cleared the group experienced ‘significant growth’ for the last two weeks of the month, but pre-tax revenues were still below expectation, although it remained profitable in 2010.

Stephen Walker, chief executive of IRC, said: "I am pleased to report another profitable trading performance in what has been a very testing year. I remain confident in the inherent strength of both of our brands.

“ Whilst 2011 isn't going to be without its challenges, it is particularly encouraging that the positive trends experienced at the end of last year have continued into trading in the early weeks of the current year, clearly demonstrating the resilience of our business and the ongoing customer appeal for our restaurants."

The group added there was a level of uncertainty about consumer spending in the face of government spending cuts and a rise in VAT. IRC had a recorded net debt of £11.7m at the year-end (2009: £12.4m) with an £18.5m loan facility in place.

The Group's preliminary results will be announced on Monday 4th April 2011.

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