Individual Restaurant Company, operator of 22 Piccolinos and 11 Restaurant Bar & Grills, has announced sales for the first three weeks of May are ahead of last year.
IRC made the announcement on the London Stock Exchange this morning, prior to its annual general meeting which is being held at 11am today.
Within a statement it said: "Underlying trading patterns are showing some encouraging signs. Excluding the impact of the extreme weather conditions in the first two weeks of 2010, group EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation] was in line with last year at the end of April. Pleasingly, sales for the first three weeks of May have been marginally ahead of last year and this pattern has been across the Group, not just in the South East where our restaurants have been broadly in growth since the beginning of the year. This is the first time such a positive comparison can be made over successive weeks since the first effects of the economic downturn were felt in the last part of 2008.
"Nevertheless, consumer spending remains tight. Whilst the extent of the adverse effect of the Football World Cup is difficult to predict, a number of England games are taking place during key trading periods. As a result trading for the first half will be impacted by the performance of the Group during this period in June.
"The Board is confident that the Group remains well placed to take advantage of the opportunities which should arise if the current underlying trading trends are sustained."