Like-for-like sales down at M&B despite strong Christmas

By M&C Report

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Mitchells & Butlers like-for-like sales down despite strong Christmas
Mitchells & Butlers has reported a 1% sales increase across its estate for the 14 weeks to 5 January, helped by a 4% rise over the Christmas period, but that challenging trading conditions since Xmas had led to like-for-like sales declining by 0.3% in the 17 weeks to 26 January.

In the 14 weeks to 5 January, the group’s like-for-like sales were 1% ahead of last year driven by a 2.4% rise in food sales against a 0.5% decline in drink sales.
The group said that since then trading conditions have been challenging following the holiday period and due to the impact of the adverse cold weather and snow.  As a result, like-for-like sales in the 17 weeks to 26 January were 0.3% lower than last year, with food sales ahead by 0.5% and drink sales down by 1.3%.
The company said that total sales growth in the first 17 weeks was 2.1% and that operating margins were in line with last year.
It said that Christmas sales were strong with record levels of advance bookings, particularly on key trading days.
The group said it continued to selectively to execute its capital expansion plans and has opened six new sites since the start of the financial year.
It said that there had been no material change to the financial position of the business since its final results announcement, with net debt broadly unchanged at £1.8bn.
Having appointed Darby as chief executive in October, the company said it was focused on the selection of independent non-executive directors to enhance the Board.
Darby said: “I am pleased with our performance over Christmas and the New Year. Our planning for Christmas was excellent and we provided our guests with great experiences, as shown by the fact that a third of our pubs, bars and restaurants broke their weekly sales records.
“Since the New Year, trading has slowed as consumers tighten their belts.  Although we do not expect economic conditions to become any less challenging over the next twelve months, we remain confident in our ability to perform well in the year ahead as a result of our continued focus on service and amenity coupled with the high quality of our assets, brands and formats.”

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