IRC blames World Cup for poor trading

Michael Hunt

Individual Restaurant Company, operator of 22 Piccolinos and 11 Restaurant Bar & Grills, said bad weather and the football World Cup has had an adverse effect on trading in the first half of the year.

The company was announcing an update on current trading ahead of its interim results for the 26 week period to 4 July 2010.

IRC reported a loss of £872,000 for the period covering the 12 months to the end of December 2009.

In a statement on the London Stock Exchange, the company said: "As indicated previously, the impact of the extreme weather conditions in the first two weeks of this year and the Football World Cup at the end of the period, have had an adverse effect on trading in the first half. Whilst the Group's earnings remain heavily weighted towards the second half, it is anticipated that the combination of these exceptional factors will negatively impact the Group's performance for the current year by approximately £0.6m, in total, at the profit before tax level.

"However, as set out in our AGM statement in May, like for like sales for the first three weeks of May were ahead of last year and this pattern was experienced across the Group, not just in the South East where our restaurants have been broadly in growth since the beginning of the year. Since England's participation in the World Cup ended, the pattern of like for like sales has resumed.

"The Board is encouraged that excluding the exceptional events experienced in the first half trading was in line with the Board's expectations and like for like sales are now in growth. The Directors remain confident that the Group remains well placed to take advantage of the opportunities which should arise if the current underlying trading trends are sustained."

IRC's interim results will be announced on Monday 13 September.

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