Belfast Telegraph

All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers cheers rising profits

The pub giant saw like-for-like sales jump 3.5% in the year to September, as total revenues rose to £2.23 billion.

All Bar One owner Mitchells and Butlers reported a return to profit growth (MandB/PA)
All Bar One owner Mitchells and Butlers reported a return to profit growth (MandB/PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Pub giant Mitchells & Butlers has hailed a “strong” year after investment across its sites helped to boost sales despite “challenging” conditions in the sector.

The Birmingham-based company saw like-for-like sales jump 3.5% in the year to September, as total revenues rose to £2.23 billion.

It also saw pre-tax profit for the year increase, rising by 36% to £177 million for the 12-month period.

Nevertheless, the All Bar One owner said sales growth has slowed to 1.4% for the most recent seven weeks due to wet weather.

These strong results reflect the work we have done over the last few years, first to build sustained sales growth and then to convert that into profit growth Phil Urban, chief executive

The group said that performance was boosted by its programme of investment into refurbishments, with 240 of its 1,748 pubs being “remodelled” during the year.

Phil Urban, chief executive of the pub group, said he believed the investment has put the company in a “stronger position” as it moves forward into the new financial year, while it expects challenging market conditions to continue.

Food sales across the business jumped 3.4%, while drinks sales increased by 3.2%, driven by increased spend per customer.

The Toby Carvery owner noted that the dining industry has continued to be impacted by “rising costs” and “supply which has outstripped demand” over the year.

It said the return to profit growth highlighted “significant progress” given the inflationary headwinds weighing on the sector.

The worst outcome would be another hung parliament and no decision-making for the foreseeable future Phil Urban

Mr Urban said industry has spent the year weighed down by consumer uncertainty and the “last thing” he would want in next month’s election is a hung parliament.

He told the PA news agency: “The worst outcome would be another hung parliament and no decision-making for the foreseeable future.

“We would want whichever government is voted in to see hospitality as the important employer, key sector in the UK, which it is.”

Mr Urban also said he believed the recent surge in the company’s share price has returned it to a “fair valuation after years of being undervalued”.

Pub groups have seen their share prices lift higher in recent months after rivals Greene King and Ei Group were snapped up by private firms earlier in 2019.

The pub boss added: “These strong results reflect the work we have done over the last few years, first to build sustained sales growth and then to convert that into profit growth.

“It has been extremely encouraging to see an improvement in like-for-like sales growth across the portfolio during the year, fuelled by our Ignite programme of work.”

It said it has also invested to improve its technology over the year, including the launch of an app and increasing its delivery service through Just Eat and Deliveroo to 273 sites.

PA

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