Manchester-based restaurant group Individual Restaurant Company, which trades as Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill, has announced a slide in profits in the year to 31 December 2008.
It stated the fall in profits, from £2.5m to £1.8m was blamed on "a £0.5m increase in depreciation."
Net debt at the year end was £15.8m compared with £6m a year earlier, while pro-forma turnover for 2008 rose 16.7% to £52.5m due to the opening of six new restaurants in the year.
Individual Restaurant Company said further leases have been signed in Aberdeen, Knutsford, London and Dorking.
In an announcement made on the London Stock Exchange, the company's chairman, Robert Breare, said: "Trading conditions became increasingly challenging as 2008 progressed. Encouragingly, trading strengthened over the Christmas period – the critical trading period for our business. It is particularly pleasing that in a period of reducing consumer spend generally, the Group's restaurants performed well over the period with results for the full year in line with market consensus at a trading level."
The company anticipates that trading conditions in 2009 will be at least as challenging as those experienced in the latter months of last year.
Steven Walker, chief executive of Individual Restaurant Company, added:"Whilst trading conditions are likely to remain tough particularly in the first half of 2009, current trading is slightly ahead of management expectations. The measures we have taken to evolve both of our brands are proving successful. This, together with an ongoing focus on tight cost control, will continue to underpin a resilient performance from both brands and the directors remain confident about the future prospects for the Group."