M&B records sales growth in past eight weeks after losses in financial year

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Return to growth: Mitchells & Butlers has enjoyed a rise in trade since Covid restrictions ended
Return to growth: Mitchells & Butlers has enjoyed a rise in trade since Covid restrictions ended

Related tags: Finance, Food, Pubco + head office, Multi-site pub operators

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has recorded like-for-like sales growth of 2.7% in the past eight weeks versus 2019 since the end of its financial year, during which its like-for-likes dropped by 9.6%, impacted by Covid-related restrictions.

The operators of brands including Harvester, Toby Carvery, Ember Inns and All Bar One, also reported it had seen a return to profitability and cash generation in the period since restrictions were lifted in its full year results for the 52 weeks ended 25 September 2021.

It has also strengthened its balance sheet through a successful £351m equity raise and refinanced its debt arrangements during the year.

M&B reported total revenue of £1,065m (2020: £1,475m) with an operating profit of £81m (2020: £8m) and a loss before tax of £42m (2020: loss of £123m).

M&B ‘well positioned’

M&B chief executive Phil Urban said: “Despite the inevitable challenges faced by our business over the past year, we are now well positioned to regain the momentum previously built as we come out of the pandemic.

“The trading environment remains challenging and cost headwinds continue to put pressure on the sector. However, we have strengthened our balance sheet and returned to profitability and cash generation, allowing us to resume our capital plan and ‘Ignite’ programme, which will deliver sales and efficiency improvements to help combat these challenges.

“Demand for our well-loved brands has been demonstrated by an encouraging return to sustained like-for-like sales growth since restrictions have been lifted, and we are confident in our ability to continue our recovery as a market-leading operator.”

Encourgaing return

On current trading and the future, the company said it had “seen an encouraging return to like-for-like sales growth” since trading reopened without restrictions on 19 July and this had been helped by the lower rate of VAT on food and non-alcoholic drink sales.

It added cost headwinds present a major challenge to the hospitality sector, most notably in utilities and employment costs but hoped to mitigate these through its ‘Ignite’ initiatives and tighter control of the business.

M&B said it launched its ‘Open Offer’ on 22 February, raising £351m. The equity raise, alongside the associated package of refinanced terms for our secured and unsecured debt, was said to provide a strong platform of financial stability as the business continues to rebuild after the pandemic. At the balance sheet date, the group had cash balances on hand of £227m, with undrawn unsecured facilities of £150m. It added: “While uncertainty and challenges still remain, we are encouraged by the demand that we have seen since reopening, supporting a return to profitability and cash generation.”

Related topics: Mitchells & Butlers

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