Mitchells & Butlers bullish for full year despite fourth quarter slip

PUB AND restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers said yesterday that sales had slipped in the fourth quarter but that it was still on track for the full year.

The firm, which counts the Harvester chain, All Bar One and O’Neill’s among its brands, said like-for-like sales were down one per cent in the nine weeks to 21 September.

It blamed the fall on tough comparatives from the same period last year when like-for-like sales rose three per cent.

But total sales, which include new sites, grew 2.1 per cent in the first 51 weeks. Food continued to outperform with like-for-like sales up 0.8 per cent over the same period, while like-for-like drink sales fell 0.3 per cent.

The group has opened 16 new sites and converted or expanded six sites this financial year. It said it planned to open around 50 new sites a year in the medium term.

Chief executive Alistair Darby said he was pleased with its progress: “We have focused...on delivering improved performance across a small number of priority areas.”