The operator of more than 1,700 pubs under brands including Harvester, Toby Carvery, O'Neills and All Bar One recorded 1.4% like-for-like sales growth in August as a result of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the reduction in VAT.
However, it also revealed the first three weeks of September have yielded a like-for like sales drop of 6.4% prior to the introduction of additional trading curbs, such as a 10pm curfew and new mask restrictions, this week.
This comes after the group’s like-for-like sales fell by almost a third (32.4%) year-on-year in July due to reduced capacity, social distancing rules and consumer caution.
At the time of writing, M&B has reopened 95% of its pub estate.
Challenging and uncertain
The group’s latest trading update comes after M&B reported a £121m pre-tax loss for the six months to 11 April.
Revenue was also hit by the ongoing pandemic with the company posting £1.039bn compared to £1.186bn the previous year, while the four weeks of enforced closure factored into its half-year results saw M&B run up a £51m operating loss compared to a £140m profit in 2019.
“After a difficult period of closure, we have been delighted to welcome back our guests with the vast majority of our sites open and trading again under Covid-secure procedures,” chief executive Phil Urban said.
“I am particularly impressed by the way in which our teams have made this possible by responding to the challenge of our new operating environment with energy and enthusiasm.
“The future remains both challenging and uncertain, with only this week a curfew and other additional restrictions being imposed on how and when we can operate.
“However, we believe we are well placed to meet that challenge and to keep M&B at the forefront of the eating and drinking-out market.”