West End market still tough, says Bank Restaurants

23 June 2004
West End market still tough, says Bank Restaurants

Bank Restaurant Group, which has three restaurants in London, today reported a gradual recovery in trading during the six months to 30 April, but said business in the West End of London remained difficult.

Sales for the period were slightly down at £4.49m, compared with £4.5m during the same period last year.

But Bank said that if the two-week closure for refurbishment of Bank Aldwych in Covent Garden was taken into account, overall sales were ahead of last year.

The group made a pre-tax profit of £13,000, against a loss of £49,000 at the same point last year.

"Trading continues to recover from the low levels experienced last year, but London's West End continues to be difficult," the company said.

It also warned that although the company had returned to profitability, the six months being looked at did represent the strongest part of the year.

Bank Aldwych continued to suffer from the lower volumes of tourists and theatre goers in London's West End, and the effect of the Congestion Charge, Bank claimed.

Although it said the refurbishment of the restaurant had been well received, like-for-like sales were still only in line with last year.

Sales at Bank Birmingham were up by 3% on the same period last year, particularly thanks to private dining. Bank Westminster's like-for-like sales were up by 4%.

The company said it would continue to focus on cutting costs and strengthening the Bank name.

It is also still looking at the possibility of merging with other restaurant companies or raising additional funds to strengthen the balance sheet.

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