TRG focuses on Coast to Coast and retail parks
27 February, 2013
The Restaurant Group has earmarked its Coast to Coast brand for growth following a strong start to 2013—driven in large part by its sharpening focus on retail and leisure parks.
As Peach Report reported on Wednesday, TRG has turned in an impressive couple of months in early 2013, with like for like sales up 6.5% in the eight weeks to 24 February. It follows a solid 2012, when sales climbed 4.5% on a like for like basis, and by 9% including new openings.
Presenting its results, it singled out the US concept Coast to Coast as one of its star performers—and hinted that it signals a new focus to its business. Chairman Alan Jackson said: “The performance of our new Coast to Coast restaurants gives us particular pleasure. This brand has a distinct and scaleable offering, and represents the start of what we believe is a significant new leg to our Leisure business.” Coast to Coast currently has five sites in Brighton, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Stevenage and Newcastle, but is expected to significantly add to that tally this year.
All five Coast to Coasts are located in major retail and leisure developments, and TRG has been among the operators finding increasingly rich pickings in this sector. Some of the locations have also benefited from proximity to large cinemas, which have also enjoyed a strong few months in terms of footfall.
TRG also told analysts that its Frankie & Benny’s brand was still motoring, with plenty of room still left for expansion. It is also looking to its upmarket Brunning & Price brand for more growth this year.
Analysts were generally impressed by TRG’s figures for early 2013, which coincided with tricky trading conditions amid snowy weather in many parts of the UK—though some of the sales increase can be attributed to discounting and deals at its brands.
Overall, TRG expects to open 28 to 35 new sites in 2013 and is primed for rapid growth. Jackson said: “The size of our new site pipeline is better than we have seen for a number of years.”