Creams whips up sales surge to buck ca­sual din­ing blues

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - 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

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