Piccolinos owner bounces back after cold snap

Individual Restaurant Company, the publicly listed operator of 33 Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill outlets, said trading in December was down 4% on the year before due to the severe weather.

Pre-tax profits are likely to be slightly below expectations because of the lost business caused by two weeks of bad weather at the start of December.

However, IRC, delivering a pre-close trading update for the year ended 31 December 2010, said trading in 2011 so far has been "buoyant".

Stephen Walker, chief executive of IRC, based in Manchester, said in his statement: "I am pleased to report another profitable trading performance in what has been a very testing year. I remain confident in the inherent strength of both of our brands. Whilst 2011 isn't going to be without its challenges, it is particularly encouraging that the positive trends experienced at the end of last year have continued into trading in the early weeks of the current year, clearly demonstrating the resilience of our business and the ongoing customer appeal for our restaurants."

Net debt as at 31 December 2010 was £11.7m (£12.4m 2009) and with an £18.5m loan facility in place. The group had headroom of £6.8m remaining.

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