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Mitchells & Butlers sales up 4.9%

By Rachel Parkes, 22-Nov-2011

Related topics: Business, Pubs & Bars, 2011

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the managed pub company, has seen sales rise by 4.9 per cent in 2011 to £1.76bn, boosted by an increase in food sales by 7.8 per cent.

In its yearly results, posted today, M&B also reported pre-tax profit of £132m, marking a return to profit for the company after posting a £127m loss in 2010.

Like for like sales were up 2.6 per cent, including a 4.8 per cent increase in like for like sales in food. M&B, the owner of Harvester, Toby Carvery and O’Neills, said food sales are now its biggest product, growing by 30% over the past four years and contributing to a 16% rise in profits over this time.

The company opened 53 new sites in the year, including 21 of the 22 Ha Ha Bar and Grill sites acquired in November 2010.

But it warned that M&B could expect further challenges ahead. “The consumer environment remains challenging,” it said. “We expect inflationary cost pressures to persist in the new financial year, especially from energy, duty and food. We will seek to mitigate the impact of these cost increases with the effective implementation of our business initiatives and will continue to take advantage of attractive capital investment opportunities.

Meanwhile billionaire Joe Lewis, whose Piedmont investment vehicle owns 22.8 per cent of M&B, is expected to launch further concerns today about the company's failure to find a chief executive, the Times reported.

M&B restructuring

Last week M&B announced a major restructuring of its operations business , which will see three of its senior managers leave the company. In April last year, the company successfully staved off accusations from the city’s takeover watchdog that shareholders had colluded in a major takeover bid.

Bob Ivell, M&B’s executive chairman, was positive in his outlook. "This is a resilient set of results despite a challenging year with a difficult consumer environment, board changes and a takeover approach. Mitchells & Butlers is a good business and our ambition is to make it a great business."

He added: “We have a number of initiatives in place to do this including the simplification of our central support functions to enhance business performance. Overall, this gives us confidence in successfully growing the business in the year ahead."