The Daily Telegraph - Business

Creams whips up sales surge to buck casual dining blues

- By Oliver Gill

DESSERTS chain Creams has shrugged off the gloom engulfing restaurant­s to post a surge in sales and profits.

The company dished out almost one million scoops of gelato every week last year, according to accounts to be filed this week.

Sales leapt 37pc to £40.1m and profit increased by 76pc to £1.6m, in the year to March.

Creams opened 21 stores over the period, taking its estate to 80 outlets nationwide. The growth has continued since the company’s year end with three more openings. Creams said sales in the six months to September climbed by 10pc, and the company is venturing beyond sweet treats with the launch of savoury options this month.

Founded by Balal Aqil and Adam Mani in 2008, Creams focuses on fresh desserts such as waffles, crepes, puddings and sundaes. The company now employs more than 1,400 people and works alongside 55 franchise partners. The casual dining industry continues to be buffeted by cost headwinds such as rising rents, sky-high business rates and wage inflation alongside a fall in demand from customers.

Many chains, having grown rapidly in the last decade, have been forced into painful restructur­ings that have led to a slew of store closures. Others, such as Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire, have been unable to continue and called in administra­tors.

One of Creams’s major competitor­s for puddings, Patisserie Valerie, collapsed earlier this year amid allegation­s of fraud. Mr Mani acknowledg­ed there are challenges in dining that affecting rivals but added: “Our round-theclock and great value offering has growing appeal among multiple customer demographi­cs including teenagers, young adults, students and families.”

 ??  ?? Creams served almost one million scoops of gelato every week
Creams served almost one million scoops of gelato every week

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