Jamie Oliver is to close six of his Jamie's Italian restaurant sites, citing tough trading conditions and the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote.
The sites – located in Aberdeen, Exeter, Cheltenham and Tunbridge Wells, as well as Richmond and Ludgate Hill in London – are set to close by April. The company said the closures represent less than 5% of total turnover and impact less than 5% of its team members.
Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group chief executive Simon Blagden said: 'As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and, post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.
'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.'
Jamie's Italian increased turnover by 9% in 2015 to £116.1m according to its latest accounts, filed in October. However, profits fell from £3.8m to £2.3m. The slump was attributed to fees and costs incurred while sourcing new financing options.
The company has recently announced plans to grow its barbecue steakhouse and butchery brand Barbecoa by two sites in 2017, beginning with a new site in London's Piccadilly in February. It currently has a site in St Paul's.
Blagden added: 'Internationally we plan to launch another 22 Jamie’s Italian restaurants with our current partners and we are also looking forward to focusing on running and developing further our newly acquired Australian restaurants.'