The company, which now operates 41 restaurants in the UK and Ireland, says it still plans to open at least five new sites in the UK in the next year and is moving forward with its second franchise agreement with the Landmark Group to develop sites in the Middle East.
Carluccio’s executive chairman Stephen Gee said: “Our business continues to be highly cash generative, the benefit being that we can finance our opening programme out of internally generated cash flow whilst remaining debt free.
“There is no doubt that the UK has entered a period of recession with economic activity expected to slow sharply during 2009. Conditions similar to this have not been experienced by the restaurant sector for at least 15 years and along with the rest of the sector, Carluccio’s cannot be totally immune.
“However, our business model is debt free, trades all day and offers customers the unique experience of a restaurant and retail combination at a low average spend per head. This puts us in a strong position for the medium and long term despite the challenging economic backdrop.”
In the 53 weeks to September 28, the group’s sales rose by 20 per cent to £64m, the companys` seventh consecutive rise.
Its three latest restaurant openings - Leicester, Bristol and Earlsfield – count as 2009 openings, meaning the group is on track to open its minimum of five over the course of the current financial year.
Gee said the business had kept going without having to resort to discounting.
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