Pub group reports strong first half with return to profit growth

Birmingham-based pubco Mitchells & Butlers has delivered a strong first half performance as it drives a raft of improvements which it says is transforming the business.

The Birmingham-based group, which operates around 1,800 pubs under more than a dozen brands, including Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One and Miller & Carter, said it outperformed the market in the 28 weeks to April 13, with like-for-like sales growth of 4.1% which it attributed to improvements to its estate through capital investment.

The company reported revenue of £1,186m, up from £1,130m, operating profit rose £3m to £140m, while pre-tax profit rose from £69m to £75m.

On an adjusted basis,the group achieved adjusted operating profit growth of £10m, “despite the cost pressures which continue to impact the industry”.and which it also attributed to a “relentless focus on improving the efficiency of the business”.

Capital expenditure of £90m saw two new site openings and 206 conversions and remodels.

Mitchells & Butlers said its improvement strategy, called Ignite, continues to deliver individual gains across several areas and focuses on building a more balanced business, to instil a more commercial culture and to drive an innovation agenda.

Phil Urban, chief executive, said: “This is a strong set of results, demonstrating that we continue to build momentum in the business, delivering sales growth, sustained market outperformance and a return to operating profit growth all while reducing leverage to below four times.  This strong performance comes from the progress we continue to make in our three priority areas: building a more balanced business; instilling a more commercial culture; and driving an innovation agenda.

“Success in this highly competitive market is dependent on a continuous stream of improvements, and that is what we are delivering with many small advances at site level driving significant benefits in aggregate. We will maintain our focus on these initiatives which we believe are transforming the business.”