Wildwood and Dim T owner Tasty is to scale back expansion plans and focus on restructuring the company as it seeks to shore up the business having predicted “further deterioration” in the market.
It reported a pre-tax loss of £9.5m on the back of a 9.7% rise in revenue to £50.3m in the 52 weeks to 31 December 2017, adding that as a result of difficult trading conditions it would not open any new restaurants in 2018.
The group currently operates 61 restaurants, made up of six Dim T, 54 Wildwood restaurants and one other. In 2017 Tasty opened six site and closed six sites, with more closures planned for this year.
Closures include Canary Wharf Wildwood, where the lease was sold for a premium of £1.45m, Ilkley Wildwood Kitchen, which generated a premium of £120,000, and Gloucester Road Wildwood, which was sold as a going concern for a £2.7m.
In addition to the six sales, the company also undertook a sale and leaseback transaction of its Kettering site, later selling the freehold. It said that it was likely to pursue transactions of this nature for other sites.
Chairman Keith Lassman said: “The board does not expect market conditions to improve in 2018 and believes that a further deterioration is likely. Underlying input costs will continue to rise and consumer spending will face increased pressures.
“The group’s next round of operational improvements are targeting improvements in the areas of sales, food and labour margins, however it will be some time before the full benefit of these changes is felt and financial performance in 2018 is very unlikely to see any improvement on 2017.”
He added that Tasty would continue to investigate promotional options and pricing structures in 2018 and that the group would incur further restructuring costs.