Casual Dining Group has reported an increase in losses, despite a 2.2 percent rise in like-for-like sales.

As the UK restaurant sector is facing increasing pressure, the owner of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia posted an 18 percent increase in losses – totalling £60 million.

The group said they had faced a “significant” rise in costs, including the National Living Wage, inflation, rent increases and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The current economic climate has left Casual Dining Group to face challenging conditions “due to consumer confidence levels and the broader impact on discretionary spending”.

Total sales for the year were up by ten percent to £329 million. Increase in sales was helped by new site openings and sales growth from existing sites.

Casual Dining Group has plans to further expand and has 17 new restaurant openings due for 2018.

Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge are not the only UK eateries that are facing troubling times. A new study has shown that one-third of the UK’s top restaurants now loss-making.

“More than a third of the biggest companies in the restaurant sector are losing money, and there is little respite on the horizon,” said Peter Kubik, a partner at UHY Hacker Young, who published the study.

“Pressures on the restaurant sector have been building for years, and the last year has pushed a number of major groups to breaking point. With Brexit hanging over consumers like a dark cloud, restaurants can’t expect a bailout from a surge in discretionary spending.

“Consumers only have a finite amount of spending power when it comes to eating out, and the oversaturation of the market means that groups that fall foul of changing trends can very easily fail.”