Turnover at PizzaExpress grew by 9.8% to £509.7m in the year to 3 January 2016, driven by international growth, although like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland dropped 0.9% amid a "softening" casual dining market.
PizzaExpress said like-for-like sales were back into growth in the UK and Ireland during the first quarter, although it said the market remained "challenging" and actions were in place to "help mitigate UK sector-wide cost pressures".
Group EBITDA for the year to 3 January 2016 was up 1.1% to £102.6m.
The business, which now has 500 restaurants worldwide, opened 21 new sites internationally including its first in Singapore during the year. It now operates 34 restaurants in mainland China under the PizzaMarzano brand. It also launched 16 new sites in the UK and Ireland.
Richard Hodgson, chief executive officer of PizzaExpress, said: "2016 was a good year for PizzaExpress, with our international business delivering particularly strong results, and our UK & Ireland business giving a resilient performance despite a challenging market environment. I am pleased to say that both our group turnover and EBITDA were ahead of last year."
"We have had a good start to this year. We have achieved like-for-like sales growth in UK & Ireland despite the market backdrop. Our international business has been performing well and we have opened several new sites already, with more in the pipeline for the rest of the year.
"Looking ahead, we anticipate the UK market to remain challenging throughout 2017 and expect the unprecedented cost inflation impacting our sector to continue. Despite this, we believe in our business strategy and the strength of our offer. We will continue to drive innovation and efficiency in the UK, while also focussing on growing our international estate. We are confident that PizzaExpress will deliver further progress in the year ahead."
In 2014, Chinese group Hony Capital bought PizzaExpress from Gondola Holdings for £900m.
Chinese private equity firm pays £900m for PizzaExpress >>
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