Mitchells & Butlers sees 'volatile' trade since reopening
UK pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers said sales had been "volatile" since reopening on May 17 with stronger demand in suburban outlets offsetting challenging conditions in city centres.
The Harvester, Toby Carvery, and All Bar One owner said that in the first five weeks of reopening, like-for-like sales were at 98% of pre-Covid levels, in part due to pent-up consumer demand.
Across the following five weeks activity was slower, with like-for-like sales at 89% of pre-Covid levels, although there had been some sign of improvement following the further easing of restrictions on 19 July.
Aside from the impact of selected games during the European football tournament, sales had generally been stronger in suburban and food-led brands.
Total sales for the year to date, including 18 weeks of enforced closure, were at 35% of pre-Covid levels.
The group had cash balances on hand of £203m at July 24, with undrawn unsecured facilities of £150m, and £39m was drawn on its liquidity facility.
"The continuing uncertainty relating to the pandemic still makes forward guidance difficult, and is likely to do so at least until into the autumn,” said chief executive Phil Urban.
“However, with our diversified portfolio of well-known brands and largely freehold estate, and our continued focus on efficiency though our Ignite programme, supported by a strengthened balance sheet, we are in a strong position coming out of the pandemic as restrictions ease further."