Like-for-like sales fall at Mitchells and Butlers

Like-for-like sales have dropped 0.8% at restaurant group Mitchells and Butlers with pre-tax profit down slightly at £94m. The operator of brands including Harvester, Nicholson’s, All Bar One and Browns has reported total revenue of £2,086m for the 52 weeks ended 24 September 2016.

Currently operating some 1,800 sites, Mitchells and Butlers said it would concentrate on the premium market where it saw the most growth.

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It plans to grown steakhouse Miller & Carter to 100 sites by 2018 (the brand has grown from 36 to 52 sites in 2016).

Meanwhile, the Pizza & Carvery businesses has been reinvented as the Stonehouse brand, which Mitchells and Butlers plans to grow from 36 to 80 sites.

Chief executive Phil Urban said: “During the year we have made good progress in our three priority areas: building a more balanced business; instilling a more commercial culture; and driving an innovation agenda.

“This focus is starting to have a positive effect on our sales, with improved performance against a subdued market in recent months through continuation of the momentum we saw start in the second half of last year.

“Sales growth in the first eight weeks was impacted by the Rugby World Cup in the prior year, but I’m encouraged by the underlying momentum which has seen recent weeks return to the levels seen in the summer.

“In the next year, as previously announced, we face external cost headwinds, notably from further wage inflation, the recent business rates review and exchange rate movements. We are working hard to mitigate these headwinds wherever possible, both through building on our sales momentum and active management of our cost base.”

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