Pub operators left hungry after World Cup cuts demand for food

Oliver Smith
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All Bar One is among the chains operated by Mitchells & But­lers that saw food sales drop
The World Cup put the boot into pub food sales over May and June as consumers, rather than eating out at their local Mitchells & But­ler’s or Marston’s pubs, stayed at home to watch the action in Brazil.

Harvester and All Bar One owner M&B posted disapp­oint­ing third quarter results yes­ter­day due to the World Cup, which tanked the groups drink sales by 0.5 per cent. Like-for-like sales were flat in the 14 weeks to 19 July, propped up by food sales that grew 0.6 per cent.

“Despite the slowdown in the UK eating and drinking out market during May and June, we remain confident in our well established strategy,” said boss Alistair Darby.

Marston’s, which operates more than 2,000 pubs in the UK, said the World Cup had knocked food sales but boosted drink sales, with a broadly neutral impact on trading over the period and sales in line with expectations.

Rival operator Fuller’s shrugged off the impact of the World Cup as like-for-like sales rose 7.3 per cent during the 16 weeks to 19 July, with strong trading across all its divisions.

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