Eat Out scheme helps Wagamama like-for-like sales jump before second lockdown

Asian restaurant chain Wagamama has posted a jump in like-for-like sales prior to the second national lockdown.

The chain, which is part of The Restaurant Group, said like-for-like sales increased by 7.4% in the quarter to September 27, compared to the same period last year.

Wagamama started the phased reopening of restaurants at the start of July and saw demand sparked by the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out subsidy scheme throughout August.

The scheme helped to drive “strong footfall” to its restaurants during the quarter, increasing its adjusted earnings to £18.1 million for the month.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

However, it stressed that Covid-19 “continued to impact” on trading as city centre sites were particularly impacted by lower footfall.

During the quarter, the restaurant chain negotiated a number of rent deals which it said helped to improve its profitability.

Emma Woods, chief executive officer of the chain, said: “We are encouraged by the strong performance of the business in Q3, both for eat-in and delivery.

“This was the last point we were able to trade in any sense normally and provides real confidence that the business can return to market-leading performance when restrictions are again lifted.”

Wagamama also hailed strong sales growth in the first eight weeks of 2020, but saw its trading go downhill sharply after the coronavirus pandemic fully struck the UK in March and caused the temporary closures of its restaurants.

Shares in The Restaurant Group moved 3.9% higher to 66.5p in early trading on Wednesday.