Full-year results reveal that the group, which was swallowed last year by Chinese outfit Hony Capital, generated underlying earnings before tax and depreciation of £100.2 million, up almost 13 per cent on a year earlier. It is the first time that the profit measure has been above £100m.
The 500-strong chain said sales had been boosted by new seasonal menus and the launch of its Romana65 pizza range – reflecting the year the business was founded, with a single London eatery, in 1965.
Overall turnover leapt by just under 10 per cent to £427.7m in the 12 months to 28 June – another record result. UK like-for-like sales were up by 5.6 per cent.
During the year, 19 restaurants were opened in the UK and 11 internationally, including eight in China. The firm also hailed sales of its take-home pizzas, pastas and dressings to supermarkets of more than £100m, despite a “challenging backdrop” to the grocery sector. Since the year end, the group has launched a delivery service at two sites in London and rolled out a new chicken restaurant concept, called Reys, in Cambridge.
Richard Hodgson, chief executive, said: “Pizza Express has seen a very successful year, with strong trading momentum throughout the business.
“These are our first set of full-year results following our acquisition by Hony Capital in 2014 and they also mark the 50th year since we were founded. Customer-led innovation remains a core part of our business.”