Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) enjoyed strong Christmas sales but tough trading conditions outside of the festive period as it announced its results for the 17 weeks to 23 January 2016.
Like-for-like sales growth stood at 2% in the two weeks of Christmas and New Year. However total sales fell by 0.8% during the period, though operating margins are ahead of the prior year. Total sales for the eight weeks to November 21 were up 1.6%.
Chief executive Phil Urban, said: 'We had a good Christmas, recording growth across the period and also delivering our best ever trading day. Whilst trading conditions remain tough, particularly as we go into the post-holiday season, we are acting with pace to drive our business priorities – building a more balanced business, developing our commercial culture and increasing the speed of execution and innovation.'
M&B acquired two new sites during the period, and converted 12 in the financial year to date, including a further 10 Orchid conversions. An extensive redevelopment programme is underway across the estate, with 76 sites having been 'revitalised' so far this year.
Announcing its full year results in November, M&B said it needed to become a 'more competitive, balanced and innovative business' in the year ahead.