Pizza Express earnings hit by casual dining crunch

Higher wages and property costs have impacted the sector across the UK
Higher wages and property costs have impacted the sector across the UK

Pizza Express profits declined in 2018, after a year of challenges in the UK and fierce competition in China.

Group turnover was up 1.6% to £543 million, but underlying earnings declined by 15.3%.

The company said this was partly down to challenges in some of its less developed international markets, including China where it has been pursuing a major expansion of the brand.

Chairman and CEO Jinlong Wang said the business faced “intensifying competition from local brands” in China and was focused on adapting to changing consumer demands in the market.

Nevertheless international markets now generate just under 20% of group sales, following the opening of 26 new sites in 2018.