Cafe Rouge owner re­ports £60m loss

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS -

CA­SUAL DIN­ING Group, the owner of restau­rant chains Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, saw losses widen last year in a fur­ther sign of the malaise af­fect­ing the eat­ing out mar­ket.

The com­pany, which also op­er­ates La Tasca and Belgo, posted a £60m loss for the year to May 2017, 18 per cent worse than losses suf­fered the pre­vi­ous year.

It blamed a “dif­fi­cult trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment” and “chal­leng­ing con­di­tions” linked to weak con­sumer con­fi­dence and the col­lapse in the Brexit-hit pound, which has seen costs soar while also push­ing prices up for hard­pressed din­ers.

The likes of By­ron, Prezzo and Jamie’s Ital­ian have all shut large swathes of their store es­tates re­cently as the sec­tor is also ham­mered by large in­creases in business rates.

It comes as the CDG boss Steve Richards joined in­dus­try big hit­ters in writ­ing a let­ter to Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond, warn­ing over the cost of do­ing business in the trou­bled sec­tor.

“Our business, along with many oth­ers op­er­at­ing in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor up and down the coun­try, is set to be sad­dled with in­fla­tion-bust­ing business rate hikes next month”, he said.

He added: “High business rates sti­fle the sec­tor’s growth po­ten­tial and abil­ity to cre­ate more jobs.”

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