Mitchells and Butlers has announced a “strong year” of trading and profit growth in its latest full-year report.
The pub and restaurant group’s like-for-like sales increased by 3.5%, despite “challenging market conditions” facing the industry. Operating profits leapt to £317m, up £14m from last year’s results of £303m.
Meanwhile, pre-tax profits jumped 36% to £177m, while total revenue increased from £2.15bn to £2.24bn.
Like-for-like food sales rose by 3.4%, while drinks sales increased by 3.2%. This was driven by an increased average spend per customer on both food and drink items, following a strengthening of prices and increased premiumisation across all sites.
The company praised a “continued, consistent outperformance of the market”, citing new food wastage initiatives, improved booking platforms and investment in delivery apps as some reasons for its success.
It added: “The work we have undertaken, principally through our Ignite programme of initiatives, is driving a strong trading performance and generating profit growth whilst we continue to invest in our estate and pay down debt.”
The company, which owns All Bar One, Toby Carvery, Miller and Carter, Harvester and Browns, amongst others, also reaped the benefits of investing in site refurbishments.
Some 240 of its 1,748 pubs were remodelled during the year, and returns from completed projects increased to 34%.
Through reducing closure time and costs, as well as implementing a more efficient use of resources, return on investments for conversion and acquisition projects increased 21%, the “strongest seen for many years”.
CEO Phil Urban said: “These strong results reflect the work we have done over the last few years, first to build sustained sales growth and then to convert that into profit growth.
“It has been extremely encouraging to see an improvement in like-for-like sales growth across the portfolio during the year, fuelled by our Ignite programme of work.”
He added: “This puts us in a stronger position as we move forward into the next financial year, in what we expect to remain challenging market conditions.”