M&B sees record-breaking £12m spend on Christmas Day

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Twas the season: Christmas trading soared for Mitchells & Butlers
Twas the season: Christmas trading soared for Mitchells & Butlers
Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) saw strong like-for-like sales in December, particularly growth over the three-week festive period of 9.8%.

The pub company, which has brands including Toby Carvery, Harvester and Miller & Carter, also said its sales performance had strengthened over the full seven week-period since its last update with like-for-like growth of 6.9%, balanced more evenly between food and drink.

For the seven weeks to 17 November 2018. Total like-for-like food and drink sales were up 1.8%. This figure soared in the seven weeks to 5 January 2019 when it rose by 6.9%.

M&B said it will continue to focus on investment in its estate, premiumising where possible as well as improving amenity.

Sales growth

In the financial year to date, it has already completed 114 conversions and remodels and opened two new sites.

M&B chief executive Phil Urban said: “We are delighted with our performance over the festive trading season, with record trading on all key festive dates, including sales of more than £12m on Christmas Day and like-for-like sales growth of 12.3% over the core two-week period.

“The weather was milder than last year but the results were also due to the months of planning put in by our teams, and to several of our Ignite initiatives beginning to bear fruit.

“We now enter our toughest quarter and given the success of the festive trading period, we would expect trade to be quiet at least until people get paid again."

Ongoing uncertainty

He added: “The ongoing uncertainty around Brexit will continue so we remain cautious about the outlook until the political and macro-economic landscape becomes clearer. That said, we have made a good start to the year.”

Meanwhile, M&B reported a rise in its pre-tax profits​ while its adjusted operating profits dropped slightly in its annual financial results in November.

The pubco took in a profit of £130m for the year to 29 September 2018, up from £77m in the previous period. Its adjusted operating profits saw a 1.6% fall to £303m.

The company’s full year like-for-like sales increased by 1.3%, despite unexpected weather conditions throughout the year and the World Cup having a knock-on impact on trading.

It said the last reported period of like-for-like sales was free from such one-off events and had seen a growth of 2.2%.

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