Restaurant groups Living Ventures and D&D London announce 'record' Christmas

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: London, Living ventures

Living Ventures, which opened Smugglers Cove in Liverpool at the end of 2013 is planning to further its expansion this year on the back of a successful Christmas
Living Ventures, which opened Smugglers Cove in Liverpool at the end of 2013 is planning to further its expansion this year on the back of a successful Christmas
Restaurant and bar groups Living Ventures and D&D London experienced very merry Christmasses last year with 'record sales' up 43 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. 

In a trading statement, Living Ventures, the Manchester-based operator of casual dining and bar brands Gusto, Artisan, Blackhouse, The Alchemist and New World Trading Company, said most of the growth had come from the six new sites it had opened over the last year, but trade was broadly positive across the whole group. 

Living Ventures chief executive Tim Bacon said the results, which followed progress made in the year ending 31 March 2013, spoke for themselves and helped the company start 2014 in a positive way.

"We are delighted with the progress of the business and are confident of making further progress in the current year," he said. 

"The group is developing really well. We believe that we now have the constituent parts for an offer that can be applied in other cities other than Manchester. Our focus will be to continue to build a highly cash generative and profitable business.“

D&D London

D&D London's chief executive and chairman Des Gunewardena said his company's strong Christmas sales, especially those at its City restaurants, were welcomed, particularly after a series of 'relatively austere Decembers'. 

The operator of more than 30 restaurants worldwide had its highest ever Christmas revenues with sales up 5 per cent across all London restaurants and 15 per cent at its City and Canary Wharf sites. 

"For a number of years we have been reporting positive Christmas trading driven by strong sales in our West End and Kensington and Chelsea restaurants," said Gunewardena. "During these years the City has been pretty flat. This December has seen a dramatic reversal of that trend. We have had a fabulous Christmas in the City and in Canary Wharf. We have traded well not only in our more recently opened venues such as Old Bengal Warehouse and South Place Hotel, but also in our more established restaurants such as Coq d'Argent, Plateau and Paternoster Chop House.

"After a number of years of relatively austere Decembers, it's good to see the City bouncing back." 

Expansion

Both restaurant groups plan to further their expansion this year on the back of a successful festive season. D&D London is working on a redevelopment of the German Gymnasium site​ at King's Cross while Living Ventures is planning to open its first bar in London - the Alchemist this year as well as more venues under its New World Trading Company brand. 

Last year the group secured £2.7m of external funding from Hill Capital to develop the brand, opening Smugglers Cove in Liverpool​ at the tail end of the year. It said it was planning 'a strong pipeline' of new openings for 2014. 

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