Pub group blames World Cup for lower sales

PUB and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers said its rate of sales growth slowed in June and July as the soccer World Cup dented food sales.

M&B, whose brands include Harvester, All Bar One and Toby Carvery, said sales at outlets open for more than a year were up 1.2 per cent in the nine weeks to July 17 compared with a 1.8 per cent rise in the preceding 33 weeks.

For the year to date, like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent.

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The company, which runs over 2,000 pubs and restaurants across Britain, said there continued to be uncertainty in the outlook for discretionary expenditure and associated pressure on Britain's eating and drinking out market.

However, it added that its marketing and low prices had generated increases in sales and profitability and formed a strong platform for future growth.

Shares in M&B closed on Wednesday at 303.4p, valuing the business at 1.21bn.

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