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Mitchells & Butlers sees ‘volatile’ trading since reopening bars and pubs

Shares drifted lower in early trading after the hospitality group said it saw a slowdown in sales.

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Mitchells and Butlers owns brands including Toby Carvery and Harvester (Mitchells and Butlers/PA)

Mitchells and Butlers owns brands including Toby Carvery and Harvester (Mitchells and Butlers/PA)

Mitchells and Butlers owns brands including Toby Carvery and Harvester (Mitchells and Butlers/PA)

All Bar One and Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) said it has seen “volatile” sales since reopening its all of its venues in May.

Shares drifted lower in early trading after the hospitality group said it saw a slowdown in sales after an initially strong period following the easing of restrictions on May 17.

M&B, which also owns Harvester, said like-for-like sales were “strong” over the first five weeks after the wider reopening at 98% of pre-pandemic levels from the same period in 2019.

It said it had been buoyed by “pent up customer demand” when sites reopened again after the third national lockdown.

However, it told investors that activity was “slower on average” across the next five weeks, with like-for-like sales at 89% of pre-pandemic levels.

The firm stressed that “most recently there has been some sign of improvement following further easing of restrictions on ‘Freedom Day’ in England”.

M&B added that it has seen a strong performance across its suburban and food-led venues – except during certain games during the Euro 2020 tournament – while city centre sites have been “the most challenged”.

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Phil Urban, chief executive at M&B, 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.”

In February, the company raised around £350 million from investors to bolster its finances amid the continued impact of pandemic restrictions.

Shares in the business were 0.8% lower at 281.4p in early trading.


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