All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers' share price lifts despite drop in full-year sales

Francesca Washtell
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Three men hold pints of beer
Mitchells & Butlers owns All Bar One, Harvester and Toby's Carvery (Source: All Bar One)

All Bar One owner Mitchells and Butlers has toasted a rise in drinks sales during the summer heatwave, but this hasn't been enough to lift a decline in turnover over the full year.

The figures

Like-for-like sales in the 51 weeks to 17 September fell by 0.8 per cent, the pub and bar group said today in a pre-close trading update.

Food turnover fell by 1.4 per cent at the FTSE 250-listed pub group, compared to an almost flat drop in drinks sales at 0.1 per cent.

Read more: Mitchells & Butlers share price falls following damp August

However, sunny weather has been "helpful" to sales over the last eight weeks, lifting total sales by 1.8 per cent and drinks revenues alone by 3.7 per cent.

Shares were up 2.2 per cent to 270.83p per share in late morning trading.

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Why it's interesting

The Harvester and Nicholson's operator reaffirmed previous guidance that its margins for the full year will be "below last year", as a result of the National Living Wage and accelerated investment in its estates.

Over the financial year Mitchells & Butlers has converted or remodelled 244 sites and opened a further seven new branches.

Read more: Mitchells & Butlers investors have something to toast

Sports events such as Euro 2016 and good weather in recent months have boosted the pub trade almost across the board this summer, but for Mitchells & Butlers this hasn't been enough to offset a drop in sales registered earlier in the year.

What Mitchells & Butlers said

Chief executive Phil Urban said:

We are encouraged by our improved trading performance in recent months. Weather in recent weeks has certainly been helpful to sales, but in addition we are starting to benefit from increased investment activity, instilling a commercial culture and a faster pace of execution and innovation in our business.

We enter the new financial year facing an increasing number of cost headwinds, most notably labour. However, based on recent progress we remain committed to our strategy going forward.

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