Restaurant and bar operator ready to regain momentum

All Bar One, Brindleyplace, Birmingham
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Pub giant Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is now back to like-for-like sales growth, following the lifting of restrictions.

Pre-tax losses were reduced by two-thirds to £42m in the year to September, despite revenues falling 28% to £1.07bn.

M&B’s chief executive Phil Urban said: “Despite the inevitable challenges faced by our business over the past year we are now well-positioned to regain the momentum previously built as we come out of the pandemic.”

The pub giant operates 1,700 restaurants and pubs under 17 brands including All Bar One, Miller & Carter, Harvester and Toby Carvery.

M&B has seen an “encouraging return” to a growth in sales since trading resumed without restrictions in July, helped by the lower rate of VAT on food and non-alcoholic drink sales.

Whilst uncertainty and challenges still remain, it says the demand seen since re-opening is supporting a return to profitability and cash generation.

The balance sheet of M&B was strengthened through a successful £351m equity raise in March and refinanced debt arrangements.

M&B launched the cash raise after its liquidity “deteriorated significantly” as a result of lockdown measures during the pandemic, admitting that the future of the hospitality sector remains “extremely uncertain”.

Urban added: “The trading environment remains challenging and cost headwinds continue to put pressure on the sector. However, we have strengthened our balance sheet and returned to profitability and cash generation, allowing us to resume our capital plan and Ignite programme which will deliver sales and efficiency improvements to help combat these challenges.

“Demand for our well-loved brands has been demonstrated by an encouraging return to sustained like-for-like sales growth since restrictions have been lifted, and we are confident in our ability to continue our recovery as a market-leading operator.”

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