Business

Frankie & Benny's owner sees shares jump

Shopping centre Image copyright Frankie & Benny

Shares in the owner of Frankie & Benny's restaurants have jumped 10% after it said the rate of decline in its sales had slowed.

Restaurant Group, which owns almost 500 restaurants and pubs across the UK, has been trying to turn itself around after profits and sales dived last year.

It said comparable sales in the 20 weeks to 21 May 2017 had fallen 1.8%.

However, this was a marked improvement on the fourth quarter of 2016, when like-for-like sales dropped by 5.9%.

The group, which also owns the Chiquito and Garfunkel's chains, said it expected to report full-year profits in line with market expectations.

Last year, annual profits dived 11% after customers shunned the group's brands as it raised prices and ditched popular value offers.

However, chief executive Andy McCue has been trying to turn the tide by simplifying its menus and closing some of its less profitable restaurants.

In a trading update, Restaurant Group said its turnaround was "progressing well" and that more customers had been using its pubs, thanks to favourable weather conditions.

Its 12 airport concessions also benefited from strong passenger numbers, although the firm said this was likely to moderate in the second half of the year.

In a note from analysts, brokers Liberum said the update would "reassure the market".

Restaurant Group said it expected to report full-year pre-tax profits of around £56.8m this year, down from £77.1m in 2016.

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