Mitchells and Butlers sales rise but profit dips as brand rollout continues

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Like-for-like sales growth, Coffer peach business, Board of directors, Bank holiday

Mitchells and Butlers, which operates the Harvester brand, has reported a rise in like-for-like sales growth driven by food sales although profit has dropped
Mitchells and Butlers, which operates the Harvester brand, has reported a rise in like-for-like sales growth driven by food sales although profit has dropped
Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), which operates the Harvester and All Bar One brands, has reported positive sales growth in its half year results driven by food although profit for the business has dipped and poor weather has hit recent sales. 

Announcing its financial results for the 28 weeks to 7 April, the Birmingham-based company reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 2.7 per cent however pre-tax profits dipped by £1m to £42m compared with the same period a year earlier.

The sales growth was driven by a large increase in food sales - up 3.4 per cent in the period.

M&B insisted it continued to outperform its rivals in the market and demand on key trading days such as Valentines Day and the May Bank Holiday weekend remained strong although the operator did reveal it had experienced a difficult April.

Following the 'persistent rain' in the month, the operator said like-for-like sales growth in the 33 weeks to 12 May 2012 had dropped to 2 per cent. Earlier this week BigHospitality reported that, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, the cold and wet weather in April had hit pub and restaurant sales​.

No chief executive

Despite a dip in profits, the recent impact of the poor weather on sales and the continued search for a new chief executive to fill the vacant post after Adam Fowle stepped down in March last year​, M&B said a full year result in line with expectations was still expected.

"We have remained firmly on the front foot with a relentless focus on actions that will drive the medium and long term success of the business. We are continuing to deliver a resilient operating performance, maintaining the rollout of our industry-leading brands and progressing our major business change programme," Bob Ivell, M&B executive chairman, said.

"I am pleased with the progress being made to appoint a new CEO and further Non-Executive Directors and look forward to being able to make an announcement at the appropriate time," he added.

Brand rollout

The company, which operates 1,600 sites across the country, said profit had been impacted by energy and food inflation and exceptional operating costs as a result of investing in business and systems restructuring and service.

In the 28 week period M&B opened 35 new sites, including the 200th Harvester at a shopping centre in Peterborough. In 2012 the company expects to continue this brand rollout and open 55 new or converted sites; many of which will be on leisure or retail parks.

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