**London** Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is set to close six of his Italian restaurants after tough trading and the “pressures and unknowns” following the Brexit vote.
Oliver intends to close “Jamie’s Italian” restaurants in Aberdeen, Exeter, Cheltenham, Richmond, Tunbridge Wells and Ludgate Hill, near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, by the end of the first quarter of the year, the Guardian reported.
“As every restaurant owner knows, this is a tough market and post-Brexit the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder,” said Simon Blagden, Chief Executive of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, on Friday.
The closures will affect about 120 employees, less than five per cent of the restaurant chain’s total staff, and the company aims to offer them alternative jobs at other Jamie’s Italian outlets.
“These closures are in no way a reflection on the dedication and commitment of our staff and my first priority is to try and secure those affected alternative jobs,” said Blagden.
“Where this isn’t possible, we’ll be working with them to find alternative employment.”
Blagden said a combination of high costs on ingredients, staff training and lower footfall had forced the restaurant closures, the Guardian said.
Oliver currently has 42 Jamie’s Italian restaurants in the UK and more than 36 abroad run under his name.
“Our overall business is in very good shape, we finished last year with like for like sales growth and an increase in covers,” said Blagden, adding “Jamie’s Italian has become a much loved presence on the UK high street and we have our teams to thank for that.”