CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver is to close his Aberdeen restaurant plus five others in England as his business is hit by a combination of rising Brexit cost pressures and tough trading.

The closures will impact 120 staff, although the company will attempt to place those affected in other parts of Oliver’s restaurant empire.

The Aberdeen restaurant plus those in Cheltenham, Exeter, Tunbridge Wells and two in London are all scheduled to close in the first quarter, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group said yesterday.

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Chief executive Simon Blagden said: “This is a tough market and post-Brexit, the pressures and unknowns have made it even harder.

“While our overall business is in very good shape, we need restaurants that can serve an average of 3,000 covers every week to be sustainable.”

As well as staff costs and lower footfall, the group has been stung by the collapse in the pound, which has ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, revenue at Jamie’s Italian rose by almost nine per cent to £116.1 million in 2015, although profits fell from £3.8 million to £2.3 million.

It employs 3,100 in Britain and Blagden added: “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 within other Jamie’s Italian restaurants. Where this isn’t possible, we’ll be working with them to find alternative employment.”