Group turnover at the now Chinese-owned company was clocked at £534.2m, up 6.3% on last year while group like-for-like sales increased 1.4%.
In the UK and Ireland like-for-like sales were up 0.4% against a challenging market backdrop. 13 restaurants have been launched and 25 sites refurbished.
Over the last year, PizzaExpress has opened its first restaurant at a motorway service station and amped up its live music offering.
The pizza giant’s rapidly growing international business is performing well, with like-for-like sales growth of 8.2% and a record 27 new company-owned restaurants, plus a further seven by franchises partners.
China has been the focus of international growth, with PizzaExpress now operating in eight cities on the mainland.
As predicted, the growth in its international business was offset by industry-wide cost pressures in the UK, leading to a 8.9% decrease in EBITDA to £94.6m. The group says that the longer term growth fundamentals of UK restaurant market “remain compelling”.
The broadly positive results are in sharp contrast to a number of the brands peers in the casual dining space, with Jamie’s Italian and Prezzo currently in the process of dramatically scaling back their operations.
“We are delighted that this year saw UK & Ireland like-for-like sales return to growth, while our International business delivered an exceptional performance,” says group chairman and chief executive officer Jinlong Wang.
“As expected, the growth in International has been offset by the widely publicised sector cost headwinds in the UK, including higher food prices and wage increases as well as the rise in business rates and commercial rents.”