Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers reports slight sales rise


Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers reports slight sales rise
Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers has reported a slight rise of 0.6 per cent in like-for-like sales in the 27 weeks to April 5th.

Sales were booted by an early Easter, however.

The gains have been made in food, according to the company, which owns chains including O'Neils, All Bar One and Harvester.

Drink sales are still in decline following the smoking ban, dropping by 1.4 per cent over the period, while food sales have risen 4.8 per cent.

Beer sales remain particularly weak, Mitchells & Butlers said. Across the industry, on-trade beer sales have fallen nine per cent between October 2007 and February 2008.

The company said in a statement: "The outlook for consumer confidence remains weak while the on-trade beer market is likely to remain depressed with a continuing shift to the off-trade.

"This will be exacerbated by the recent budget duty increases. However, beer now represents only 25 per cent of our sales and we remain confident in the growth prospects of our value for money food offers, continuing strong drinks market share gains and further productivity improvements."

Mitchells & Butlers added the strategic review announced in January is on schedule and the company will announce its conclusions at its interim results on May 20th.

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