M&B sales rise fuelled by food

Pubs and restaurants group Mitchells & Butlers said it had seen strong trading over the Christmas period, boosted by food sales, but remained cautious on the outlook for consumer spending. The company, which has over 1,600 pubs and restaurants and whose chains include Harvester, All Bar One and Toby Carvery, said like-for-like sales in the nine weeks to 22 January were up 2.5 per cent. Over the 17 week period to 22 January, sales were up 3.1 per cent. "The like-for-like sales rise is driven by food”, said Seymour Pierce analyst Hugh-Guy Lorriman.