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Thu 21st Sep 2017 - M&B – the market has turned more challenging in recent weeks
M&B – the market has turned more challenging in recent weeks: Mitchells & Butlers has reported the market has turned ‘more challenging’ in recent weeks. In a trading statement covering the 51 weeks ended 16 September, the company said: “Following a strong sales performance in early summer the market has been more challenging in recent weeks, particularly given poor weather this year up against a sunny period last year which has specifically impacted drink sales. Encouragingly like-for-like sales growth continues to be ahead of the market. Total sales have increased by 2.9% in the year-to-date.” The company reported like-for-like sales are up 0.8% in the eight weeks to 16 September with food up1.5% but drink down 1.2%. The company added: “As previously advised, margins for the full year will be below last year due to inflationary cost pressures. We have opened 13 new sites and completed 236 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date. During the year we have disposed of 79 sites which did not fit into our long-term estate plan, 73 of which were sold as a package which completed in July with the remainder sold individually. The proceeds from disposals total £46m which is marginally above the net book value of the properties.” Phil Urban, chief executive, said: “Whilst the weather in August and September has adversely affected the market we remain encouraged that our like-for-like sales performance continues to outperform the market. This performance reflects the progress we have made towards our strategic priorities. We continue to work hard to mitigate the cost headwinds faced by the industry and expect to deliver a full year performance in line with the board’s expectations. We will enter the new financial year with the momentum of solid sales growth, enhanced clarity on pension contributions and a clear strategy which we believe positions the company well to deliver long term shareholder value.”

Compass Group reveals chief executive succession plan: Compass Group has announced that Richard Cousins has decided to step down from his role as group chief executive officer on 31 March 2018 and to retire from the group on 30 September 2018. He will be succeeded by Dominic Blakemore, currently Chief Operating Officer Europe. Dominic will become deputy chief executive officer on 1 October 2017 and will work closely with Richard during the next six months to ensure a smooth transition and will take over as group chief executive officer on 1 April 2018, Paul Walsh, Compass Group’s chairman, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Richard and on behalf of the board I want to thank him for his extraordinary contribution to the group. In the past 11 years Richard has transformed Compass into an industry leading organisation that delivers excellent food services to our clients, attracts and develops great people and generates significant returns for our shareholders. Dominic’s appointment is the result of a rigorous succession process. Dominic joined Compass Group in 2012 and has already contributed significantly to the group as chief financial officer for four years and for the past two years as chief operating officer Europe. Dominic has the leadership skills combined with the industry and operational experience to build on the group’s strong track record, and as chief executive officer to lead Compass to continued future success.” Cousins said: “It has been a privilege to work with the many talented people that make up the Compass team. I am grateful to have enjoyed their support in building a world class business that has enormous potential to prosper further. I look forward to working closely with Dominic in the next six months to ensure a smooth handover and I am confident that he will lead the group to even greater success in the future.” Blakemore said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Compass’ next chief executive officer. I am fortunate to be supported by a very strong senior management team and together we will continue to build on the success achieved under Richard’s leadership.” 

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