All Bar One and O’Neills owner Mitchells & Butlers feels the sting of inflation, with like-for-like sales growth of a humble one per cent over the first half of the year compared to 2019 figures.
However, both operating profit and revenue was up compared to the same period in 2021, when the country was largely in lockdown, hitting £121m and £1.1bn respectively.
Basic earnings per share also hit 7.7p during the period, up from a 33p loss back in the first half of 2021.
Commenting on the results, chief exec Phil Urban said: “The trading environment remains difficult. Cost headwinds present a significant challenge to the industry, particularly those costs related to utilities, wages and food.”
“In light of this, our teams have refocused their efforts on driving further efficiency and productivity gains through our Ignite programme. In parallel, we are pushing forward with our capital investment plan which we are pleased to see delivering strong sales uplifts”, he said.
Commenting on the results, Matt Britzman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “First half results are very much a tale of two quarters, the year started with yet another setback for the pub sector with Omicron restrictions and fears keeping the pints from flowing.
“There’s at least some positive news coming over the second quarter with sales returning to growth territory, a trend that’s seen continuing over the last few weeks too despite VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks returning to its 20 per cent level”.