Chilly weather eats into Mitchells & Butlers sales

Pubs group Mitchells and Butler reported robust festive trading but cautioned that trading since the New Year slowed as wintry weather conditions kept customers at home.

Pubs group Mitchells and Butler reported robust festive trading but cautioned that trading since the New Year slowed as wintry weather conditions kept customers at home.

In the 14 weeks to January 5th, LFL sales were up 1% from last year. However since the holiday period, a mixture of consumers tightening their belts and cold weather and snow hurt sales.

As a result, LFL sales in the 17 weeks to 26th January were 0.3% lower than last year. In the same period food sales increased 0.5% while drink sales fell 1.3%.

Mitchells & Butlers cautioned that it does not expect economic conditions to be any less challenging over next 12 months, but it remains confident in its ability to perform well in the year ahead.

Chief Executive Alistair Darby commented: "I am pleased with our performance over Christmas and the New Year... a third of our pubs, bars and restaurants broke their weekly sales records. Since the New Year, trading has slowed as consumers tighten their belts."

Net debt was broadly unchanged at £1.8bn.

CJ

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