‘Tough market’ causes closure of Jamie’s Italian restaurants

Costs pressure fuelled decision

Costs pressure fuelled decision

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Jamie Oliver is to close six Jamie’s Italian restaurants as the celebrity chef is hit by a combination of rising Brexit cost pressures and tough trading.

The closures will impact 120 staff, although the company will attempt to place those affected in other parts of Oliver’s restaurant empire.

Restaurants in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Ludgate, Richmond (both in London) and Tunbridge Wells are all scheduled to close in the first quarter, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group said.

“As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and, post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder,” said CEO Simon Blagden.

“While our overall business is in very good shape - we finished last year with like-for-like sales growth and an increase in covers - because we refuse to compromise on the quality and provenance of our ingredients and our commitment to training and developing our staff, we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable.”

As well as staff costs and lower footfall, the group has been stung by the collapse in the pound, which has ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy.

There are 42 Jamie’s Italian outlets in the UK and 28 overseas.