Nando’s grocery sales more than tripled over the past year amid significant investment to expand the chicken condiment brand globally.

The chicken restaurant’s grocery arm, Nando’s Grocery Int, saw sales surge 230% to £16m, from 4.8m in 2017, as it was buoyed by expansion into new regions and NPD.

However, heavy investment by the restaurant group owner resulted in deepening losses for the brand, which produces peri-peri sauces, salt and marinades. Pre-tax losses rose by 58% to £4.9m for the year to 25 February 2018, up from £3.1m the previous year.

Nando’s grocery arm sells and distributes its range of branded products, although these are manufactured by private label suppliers including All About Food.

Meanwhile, its UK sales surged 110% to £7.8m following the launch of new retail products, including its Bag & Bake range of dry chicken marinades.

Rapid growth in international markets, including 538% sales growth to £2.8m in Australia, and 750% growth to £1.5m in Canada, buoyed overall revenues.

“Revenue growth was supported by exceptional UK performance throughout the full year 2018, as well as strong performance in the North American markets,” the company said in the strategic report accompanying its accounts.

“EBITDA has remained comparable to 2017 despite the impact of adverse foreign exchange rates.

“The gains driven by the UK performance was offset by the ongoing investment in the USA market where Nando’s is seeking to achieve a significant market position.”

The restaurant group’s total sales, excluding South African restaurants, jumped 14% to £963m for the year, while pre-tax losses widened from £17m to £20m.