'Tough trading' blamed as six Jamie's Italian restaurants to close

Jamie Oliver is to close six Jamie's Italian restaurants due to a combination of tough trading and the rising cost of Brexit.

Around 120 staff will be affected, although the company said they will attempt to place them in other parts of the company.

The stores that will close in the first quarter of the year include:

  • Aberdeen

  • Cheltenham

  • Exeter

  • Ludgate

  • Richmond

  • Tunbridge Wells

As well as staff costs, the company has been stung by the collapse of the pound which has increased the cost of buying ingredients from Italy.

The celebrity chef has been hit with the falling value of the pound. Credit: AP

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.

"[However] we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable."

New Jamie's Italian restaurants have opened in Australia. Credit: PA

There are 42 Jamie's Italian restaurants in the UK and 28 overseas.

The company employs 3,100 people in Britain.

Mr Blagden said: "These closures are in no way a reflection on the dedication and commitment of our staff and my first priority is to try and secure those affected alternative jobs within other Jamie's Italian restaurants."

The group said they will focus their attention on the "core Jamie's Italian estate" and on the expansion of the Barbecoa brand which will see two new openings later this year.

Internationally, the firm plans to launch another 22 Jamie's Italian restaurants and develop its newly acquired Australian restaurants.