Mitchells & Butlers reported a 3.8 per cent increase in full-year sales in its pre-close trading statement for the year to 20 September, but added that sales were significantly lower in August than during the previous month.
The pub and bar company, whose chains include Harvester and All Bar One, said sales in July were boosted by the World Cup, but that damp weather and August's consumer caution brought sales down. Margins were also lower than last year, as a result of fewer sales and lower spend per head.
“Having seen an improvement in demand in July following the World Cup, trading conditions during August were difficult in the pub market, as consumers remained cautious about spending and rainfall was significantly higher than last year,” the report said.
Chief executive Alistair Darby said despite its underwhelming August, the business was on track for success: “Despite a difficult trading period in the last quarter, the transformation of our business is well on track. Coupled with the successful integration of the Orchid estate, this gives us confidence in our future growth prospects.”
Earlier this year, Mitchells & Butler completed a £266m purchase of rival pub chain Orchid's estate of 173 outlets.
But investors failed to be impressed by his assurances, and share price in the company fell as much as 6.3 per cent to 380 pence in trading this morning.