- Wagamama-owner Restaurant Group posted a first-half loss as the pandemic continued to weight on sales, though it upgraded its annual guidance citing a recovery in demand since reopening.

Pre-tax losses for the 27 weeks to 4 July amounted to £58.8 million, narrowing from year-on-year losses of £234.7 million that included hefty asset writedowns.

Revenue fell 4.6% to £216.8 million, though the company notched positive adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £23.6 million.

Restaurant Group said its trading performance since re-opening supported an increase in its full-year EBITDA expectations, without giving specific numbers.

In the 15 weeks from 17 May to 29 August, like-for-like sales at the Wagamama, pubs and leisure divisions had risen 21%, 12% and 18%, respectively, compared to the same period of 2019.

Restaurant Group noted, however, that it faced ongoing sector-wide challenges, including labour availability and increased inflationary cost pressures.

'Whilst there are some well documented sector challenges to navigate in the short-term, particularly around labour availability and supply chain, we believe the group is well positioned for the long- term,' chief executive Andy Hornby said.

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