Mitchells & Butlers picks out the positives in tough year

Mitchells & Butlers picks out the positives in tough year

UK pub group Mitchells & Butlers has warned that consumer spending in the on-trade remains depressed but that its financial position is "robust".

Mitchells & Butlers today (22 July) blamed the FIFA World Cup for damaging like-for-like sales in recent weeks.

Lower food sales at its pubs during the tournament caused like-for-like sales growth to slow as a slight rise in drinks sales failed to make up the difference. Total sales rose by 1.6% for the 42 weeks to 17 July, compared to the same period of last year. The rate of growth was 1.8% for the 33 weeks to 15 May.

The pub group said that it was cautious on the months ahead.

"There continues to be uncertainty in the outlook for discretionary expenditure and associated pressure on the UK's eating and drinking out market," it said.

However, the firm said that it expects to increase both sales and profits for its full-year.   

Higher food sales drove the owner of All Bar One and O'Neills pubs to a 1.3% increase in net sales to GBP1.04bn (US$1.5bn) for the half-year (28 weeks) to 10 April, the firm said in May.

In March, Mitchells & Butlers said it would sell off up to 300 drinks-led pubs to make way for the rapid expansion of pubs that serve food.