• Sales slide at PizzaExpress continues in October

LONDON -- Struggling UK pizza chain, PizzaExpress, said in a statement that the first full month of fall yielded dim returns for the 300-store operation.

However, its Cafe Pasta chain reported that its comparable-store sales remain on the rise, adding to an 8.5 percent increase tallied by the company in its third quarter 2002 report.

According to the statement, PizzaExpress said its flagship brand restaurants were performing at levels seen in the first quarter 2002, which were several points below comparable store sales measured in 2001.

Earlier this month, the company reported a 4.4 percent fall in comparable-store sales at its restaurants in England, Ireland and the Channel Islands for the third quarter '02 (the 12 weeks ended Sept. 22).

News of the continued slide pushed the price of PizzaExpress' shares down 2.1 percent on Oct. 30, to 277.5p (U.S. $4.31).

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