Restaurant Group profit grows 7 pct, new year starts well

Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:17am EST

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Britain's Restaurant Group Plc reported a 7 percent increase in full-year profit on the back of revenue from 28 new restaurants and strong sales at its largest dining chain, Frankie & Benny's.

The owner of popular eateries Garfunkel's and Chiquito, which serve traditional British and Mexican food respectively, also said trading in the new financial year started well.

Comparable sales were up 6.5 percent in the eight weeks to Feb. 24 from a year earlier.

Full-year adjusted pretax profit rose to 64.6 million pounds ($97.76 million) from 60.3 million pounds last year.

Revenue grew 9 percent to 533 million pounds in 2012.

Excluding new restaurants, revenue grew 4.5 percent as sales at Italian-American restaurant chain Frankie & Benny's were boosted by thrifty Britons choosing to eat at casual dining chains instead of high-end restaurants.

Like other British restaurants, Frankie & Benny's issued deep discounts to attract customers, such as 5 pound breakfasts, free all-day coffee refills and 25 percent off on Monday food bills.

Restaurant Group, which runs more than 400 restaurants and pubs in the UK, plans to open between 28 and 35 more outlets in 2013.

Shares in the FTSE-250 company closed at 389 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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