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Zizzi and Ask owner eyeing expansion after strong sales growth

PUBLISHED: 08:53 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 12 November 2018

Zizzi, restaurant and bar in Tombland. Picture: James Bass>

Zizzi, restaurant and bar in Tombland. Picture: James Bass>

The owner of Italian restaurants Zizzi and Ask has revealed a year of strong sales growth and is considering expansion despite a rocky consumer climate.

The owner of Italian restaurants Zizzi and Ask has revealed a year of strong sales growth and is considering expansion despite a rocky consumer climate.

However it said that profits were flat having absorbed higher costs.

Azzurri Group’s sales jumped 8.5% in the year to July, reaching £279.8m, with like-for-like growth across all brands.

Underlying earnings were flat at £37m as margins fell from 14.5% to 13.2%.

The group has two restaurants in Norwich city centre.

Chief executive Steve Holmes said it had been “a very challenging year from a cost perspective”.

“Today the consumer is looking for great value,” he said. “So we’ve been very cautious about putting prices up and worked hard to offset a lot of those costs.”

The group - which also owns the Coco di Mama and Radio Alice brands - now has 290 branches with plans to open more in the coming year despite a difficult backdrop with several restaurant groups shutting sites this year.

Zizzi could now expand abroad following a successful debut in Ireland, where a third site will open by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, coffee and pasta chain Coco di Mama is set to open more sites in London.

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