Mitchells & Butlers blames poor weather for August sales slump

 
Oliver Smith
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PUBS AND restaurants group Mitch­ells & Butlers reported a slight 0.6 per cent rise in like-for-like full-year sales yesterday in a trading update, due to mixed performance over the summer.

Mitchells & Butlers, 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.

In the nine weeks to 20 September, the company said like-for-like sales grew just 0.1 per cent as a result.

Margins were also lower than last year, as a result of fewer sales and lower spend per head.

Food led the growth with sales rising 0.7 per cent over the past year.

Chief executive Alistair Darby said that in spite of its underwhelming August, the business remained on track: “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 & Butlers completed a £266m purchase of rival pub chain Orchid’s estate of 173 outlets.

Shares in the group slumped 7.86 per cent on the back of the results to close down at 373.7p per share in London.

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