Pub meals help Mitchells and Butlers as it faces muted sales

City A.M. Reporter
PUBS and restaurants group Mitchells & Butlers yesterday reported a rise in full-year profit but like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the new year were flat, sending its shares down as much as five per cent.

The owner of All Bar One, Harvester and O’Neills chains said alcohol duty increases and food price inflation remained a concern for business in the new year.

“We clearly feel there will be continued pressure on food costs,” non-executive chairman Bob Ivell said.

“Food costs last year were particularly high, if you look at things like red meat, particularly in the first half.”

British pub and restaurant companies, which also face competition from supermarkets, have had a mixed year. Sales were hit by heavy rain in April and June but rebounded later as many Britons celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London hosted the Olympics.

Mitchells & Butlers’ adjusted profit before tax rose to £162m for the 52 weeks to 22 September from £156m last year. The company, which also owns the Toby Carvery and Browns chains, said like-for-like sales rose 2.1 per cent, led by food. Rival JD Wetherspoon posted a seven per cent increase in first-quarter like-for-like sales earlier this month.