Yo Sushi owner Snowfox Group saw a near 50% jump in sales last year, driven by its concerted push into grocery retail and in-store kiosks.

Newly filed Companies House accounts show group revenues up 47% to £197.3m in the year to 28 November despite shrinking its restaurant estate via a CVA in 2020.

During the year, Snowfox rolled out sushi kiosks with retail partners in the US, Canada and UK, opening 381 kiosks and taking the total number operated to about 2,200.

New kiosk openings added to strong like-for-like growth at existing sites, with owned corporate kiosks (UK and Canada) up 25% on a like-for-like basis and franchised kiosks (US and Canada) up 33%.

During the year it added Tesco, Co-op and WH Smith as pre-pack sushi customers, while building on relationships with existing partners including Asda, Costco, and David Lloyd.

Overall UK sales rebounded by 66% to £101.8m, Canada sales were up 22.6% to £50.6m and US sales up 41% to £44.8m.

The group said it had seen a “step-change in grocery sushi consumption”, while benefitting from a post-Covid rebound in retail footfall.

Adjusted EBITDA increased from £17.1m to £34.4m, helped by the closure of 17 non-profitable stores via its CVA and the “rightsizing” of its estate to 52 restaurants.

Snowfox Group’s headline pre-tax loss was £31.9m from £43.4m, reflecting interest payments of £26.1m and depreciation, impairment and amortisation charges of £26m.

CEO Richard Hodgson said: “We continue to see increasing demand for the freshest, most affordable, and convenient Japanese food at scale.

“The strength of our offer is borne out by our long-standing and trusted partnerships with some of the world’s leading retailers. It is our high-quality products and services which provide retailers with a key point of differentiation and enable them to fulfil growing consumer demand for sushi in the US, UK, and Canada.”

Growth has continued in 2022, with sales up 60% in the seven months to June to £182.7m and improved EBITDA.

Some 124 further sushi kiosks have opened so far in its new year, driven by rollout to 76 Tesco and Asda sites in the UK. It has also grown its prepack business with Waitrose and added new client Lidl in the UK while growing its partnership with Costco in the US.

In restaurants, one new site has opened in the UK in the year to date, with another scheduled to open in this year and further selected openings “under consideration”.

“I am confident in the future growth opportunities for the group – across kiosks, pre-packaged and restaurants,” Hodgson said.

“We are a clear leader within a large and growing market, and we are ideally placed to respond to those prevailing consumer trends which are driving the appeal of sushi – namely health, convenience, and the growing adoption of international cuisine.”