Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's has posted an 8% rise in pretax profit to £2.7m for the first half of the financial year but warned that trading conditions are likely to remain uncertain.
The company reported strong trading for the six months to 28 March and said that turnover for the period was up 8% to £37.1m compared with last year's £34.5m.
Carluccio's said the increases have been achieve despite the twin challenges of the new National Minimum Wage legislation and the reintroduction of a higher VAT rate of 17.5%.
The chain said its new restaurants in Exeter, Wimbledon, and Cardiff had traded well, exceeding board expectations, with the next opening scheduled in Milton Keynes in July. The group, which currently has 45 outlets, said it has a further seven restaurants in the pipeline, with five of these set to open before the end of the calendar year.
Carluccio's added that Landmark, its Middle Eastern franchisee, has opened two new restaurants in Dubai, bringing the total to three outlets, with a fourth site scheduled to open in Qatar in the autumn. It added that Landmark was "actively searching for more sites".
However, Carluccio's warned that while trading had been positive the immediate future would present challenges.
"The impact of a coalition government following the outcome of the general election and the need to take dramatic action to reduce the budget deficit will only add to this climate of uncertainty," said chairman Stephen Gee.
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