Jamie's Italian restaurants close as Brexit "pressures and unknowns" hurt business

The vote has squeezed margins for the 'celebrity chef'

Jamie's Italian restaurants close as Brexit "pressures and unknowns" hurt business

Ian West PA Archive / PA Images

Jamie Oliver has confirmed plans to close six Jamie's Italian restaurants, with the Brexit vote taking some of the blame.

His company announced that outlets in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Tunbridge Wells and Ludgate and Richmond - both in London - would shut by the end of March.

Its statement suggested trading at the restaurants had also not been up to scratch but it hoped to move the 120 staff affected to other eateries within the group.

There are currently 70 Jamie's Italians worldwide. Of these, 42 are in the UK and are likely to have been hit by higher costs for imported ingredients since the EU referendum because of the collapse in the value of the pound.

Simon Blagden, chief executive of 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."

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He said the business was "in very good shape" overall, but restaurants were expected to serve "an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable."

The group's plans to launch another 22 Jamie's Italian restaurants overseas are going ahead.

It has one Irish outlet at Dundrum Town Centre in south Dublin.

The celebrity chef and food campaigner has a net worth of $400m (£323m), according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List.