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Mitchells & Butlers continues to outperform the market as Brits are driven to drink

Total sales have increased by 4.0% in the year-to-date, with just one week of the fiscal year to go.

Boozer
It's wet, wet, wet

Britons are turning to drink, rather than food, judging by accelerating like-for-like sales growth at pubs group Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB).

The All Bar One and Harvester pubs operator said like-for-like (LFL) sales grew by 3.3% year-on-year in the eight weeks to 21 September.

That represents an improvement on the 2.8% growth seen in the preceding 10 week period.

Food sales in the eight-week period were up 2.1% year-on-year, dragging the growth rate down to 3.5% for the first 51 weeks of the pubs group’s current fiscal year.

Sales of booze and soft drinks were up 4.0%, improving the 51-week growth rate to 3.3%.

Combined sales of food and drink were up 3.6% in the first 51 weeks of the current financial year compared to the same period a year earlier.

The group said that despite cost headwinds, it expects the full-year group operating profit margin will be similar to what it was last year.

The heavily-indebted group said it had reached agreement on the 2019 triennial review of pension scheme funding and the schedule of future contributions remains unchanged. The company’s pension scheme currently shows a deficit of £293mln.

"Sales growth has remained consistently ahead of the market and we carry this momentum forward into the new financial year. We remain confident of the impact of our Ignite initiatives which will be continually reviewed and refreshed as the business moves forward,” said Phil Urban, the chief executive officer of M&B.

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers were up 1.1% at 380p in mid-morning trade, having hit 389.5p earlier.

Quick facts: Mitchells & Butlers

Price: 406 GBX

LSE:MAB
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.74 billion
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