Despite bar and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers’ nationwide expansion project the company managed to hike its sales figures in the last ten weeks.
The group, which manages All Bar One, recorded like-for-like sales growth of 2.6% over the 10 week period continuing both the momentum reported at the half year and out-performance to the market. Total sales have increased by 3.1% in the year-to-date.
The operator also manages Harvester, Toby Carvery, Miller & Carter, Premium Country Pubs, Sizzling Pubs and Stonehouse among others.
The group’s financial results for H1 revealed that it spent £93m on opening new sites, £5m more than in H1 2016. It has now opened 13 new locations of its target of 15.
“Sales performance since the half year has been encouraging, with strengthening like-for-likes helped by the sunny weather and continued outperformance to the market,” Phil Urban, chief executive, commented.
“The cost headwinds we face remain challenging. However, we are working hard to mitigate these where we can and we are confident that continued focus on the three strategic priority areas we have identified will help us to deliver a performance for the full year in line with the Board’s expectations and will generate long term sustainable shareholder value.”
Increased cost pressure is expected to lead to margins being lower than last year.
Mark Brumby of Langton Capital said “working harder and longer for less money seems to be the order of the day – at least in the short term”.
“Nonetheless, the group comments that its LfL momentum is gathering pace but, mindful that JDW [JD Wetherspoon] recently said that it might need 3% to 4% LfL growth in order to stand still in terms of profits, there may yet be some way to go.
“Evidence of a turn in the company’s fortunes may be emerging but the markets are tough and getting tougher and the competition is not standing still,” Brumby believes.