Mitchells & Butlers has reported healthy sales growth despite the tough consumer market, and says current sales are stronger still.
The managed pubs giant, operator of brands from All Bar One and O'Neill's to Ember Inns and Toby Carvery, is confident it can continue to take market share despite the downbeat economic outlook.
In the 28 weeks to April 9, turnover increased by 5 per cent to £864m, with pre-tax profits up 4.9 per cent to £86m. The interim dividend increased by 12.3 per cent to 3.2p.
Like-for-like sales increased by 4.8 per cent, with M&B's strategy to focus on volume sales growth continuing to pay off. Food volumes grew 9 per cent, with drink volumes up 2 per cent. Average weekly sales per pub were up 8 per cent to £15.9k across the 2,000-plus estate.
Growth has continued across the eight weeks to May 7. Chief executive Tim Clarke (pictured), said: "Amidst more challenging trading conditions, like-for-like sales are growing at 5.1 per cent and we are making substantial market share gains."