Mitchells & Butlers suffers as its sales growth slows in economic uncertainty

PUBS and restaurants group Mitchells & Butlers said yesterday sales growth had slowed in the last two months and that the outlook was rocky because of the economic climate.

M&B, whose chains include Toby Carvery and All Bar One, said underlying like-for-like sales were up 2.8 percent in the nine weeks to 16 July. Underlying sales were up only one per cent over the period, it said.

“Economic pressures continue and consumer expenditure in our market has weakened in the last couple of months with the short term outlook remaining uncertain.”

The company, which also runs Harvester and the Sizzling Pub Co, is now a food-led business. It said underlying sales in the first 42 weeks of the year were up 3.1 per cent but that margins would likely be slightly below last year as a result of continued cost pressures.

In March the firm said previous chief executive Adam Fowle would leave the company by mutual consent. Chairman Simon Burke stepped down earlier in July, having only taken up the role in February. M&B has now gone through six chairman in the last two years.

Joe Lewis, who is M&B’s biggest shareholder, led a boardroom coup last year in which then-chairman Drummond Hall was removed.