Mitchells & Butlers said yesterday that cost headwinds remain largely unchanged and it expects to see lower margins this year, but overall business has strengthened over the last two months.
In the eight weeks to 22 September, like-for-like sales growth was 2.2% on a calendar basis, aligning dates to account for the impact of the additional (53rd) week in its accounting period last year.
The period has also seen a more normalised split between drink and food sales following a period of very strong drink growth over the summer.
On a reporting basis like-for-like sales growth was 0.8% in the past 8 weeks, and 1.2% in the year to date. Total sales increased by 0.5% in the year to date impacted by the disposals in the prior year.
Phil Urban, chief executive of M&B, said the company continues to make good progress on building a more balanced estate, in particular premiumising its offers where possible and reducing the remodel lifecycle.
It has opened seven new sites and completed 232 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date, he said.
“We are pleased to have seen like-for-like sales growth improve to 2.2% following the period of sustained hot weather and the World Cup over the summer. We are building momentum as a result of our focus on our strategic priorities and are seeing encouraging results from the second wave of transformation activity.
“Work continues to mitigate the cost headwinds impacting the industry and we remain confident of delivering full year results in line with the board’s expectations.”
Mitchells & Butlers operate brands such as Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One, Miller & Carter, Premium Country Pubs, Sizzling Pubs, Stonehouse, Vintage Inns, Browns, Castle, Nicholson’s, O’Neill’s and Ember Inns.