Mitchells & Butlers: Trading has been 'volatile'

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Sales results: Trading has been 'volatile' for the managed pub company
Sales results: Trading has been 'volatile' for the managed pub company

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Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the operator of managed restaurants and pubs including Harvester, Toby Carvery and Nicholson's, has revealed sales have been “volatile” since full reopening on Monday 17 May.

In a trading statement covering the 43 weeks ended 24 July 2021 it said that all of its estate has been open for 10 weeks since 17 May trading both indoors and outdoors, during which time sales have been "volatile". 

It said that in the first five weeks like-for-like sales were strong at 98% of pre-Covid levels, supported in particular by pent up consumer demand on full re-opening. 

However, it added that across the following five weeks activity was slower on average, with like-for-like sales at 89% of pre-Covid level. 

Improvement signs

However, it did reveal that most recently there has been some “sign of improvement” following further easing of restrictions on 'freedom day' on Monday 19 July in England. 

Aside from the impact of selected games during the Euros, sales have generally been stronger in suburban and food-led brands, with city centre sites being the most challenged, M&B said. 

On 12 April, it initially opened 16% of its estate for outdoor trading only, building to 44% by 16 May as restrictions eased across Scotland and Wales. During these initial five weeks like-for-like sales were at 63% of pre-Covid levels. 

Uncertainty

Phil Urban, chief executive, said: "The continuing uncertainty relating to the pandemic still makes forward guidance difficult, and is likely to do so at least until into the Autumn. However with our diversified portfolio of well-known brands and largely freehold estate, and our continued focus on efficiency though our Ignite programme, supported by a strengthened balance sheet, we are in a strong position coming out of the pandemic as restrictions ease further."

M&B's news comes as Marston’s unveiled its results​ yesterday. And family brewery Robinsons ​revealed it was now trading profitably. 

 

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