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Thu 25th Sep 2014 - M&B reports 0.1% like-for-like growth in latest nine weeks
M&B reports 0.1% like-for-like growth in latest nine weeks: Mitchells & Butlers has reported that like-for-like sales grew 0.6%, with total sales up 3.8% in the 51 weeks to 20 September. The most recent nine weeks to 20 September saw like-for-like sales up by the lower amount of 0.1%. The company stated: “Having seen an improvement in demand in July following the World Cup, trading conditions during August were difficult in the pub market, as consumers remained cautious about spending and rainfall was significantly higher than last year. Our like-for-like sales grew by 0.1% in the nine weeks to 20 September. During this period we continued to make progress in improving our volume performance through delivering on our key initiatives. Notably, we have focused on: enhancing amenity (our accelerated remodel programme generates strong returns and food rating scores continue to improve); improving guest service (through increased investment in training) and investment in IT infrastructure (new pub systems have been rolled out to more than 1,000 outlets alongside new technology to deliver enhanced management information to our frontline teams). As a result, we are confident in the strong platform we are building from which to grow momentum as we move into 2015. Margins remain below last year, as a result of lower levels of sales and also of spend per head, as we moderate price increases to drive volume back into our sites. On 15 June we acquired 173 outlets from the Orchid Group (‘Orchid’) and their results are included within total sales for the fourteen weeks following this date. Orchid continues to trade well and in line with our expectations. Our investment plans are progressing and we are on track to have converted the first few sites to our brands prior to Christmas this year. Integration planning is proceeding at pace. In addition to the Orchid transaction we have opened 22 new sites and converted or expanded 9 sites this financial year.” Chief executive Alistair Darby said: “Despite a difficult trading period in the last quarter, the transformation of our business is well on track. Coupled with the successful integration of the Orchid estate, this gives us confidence in our future growth prospects.”

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