Mitchells & Butlers share price rises on strong festive sales

Shares in pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers (LSE: MAB) closed up 2.1% at 260.36p on Wednesday after the company reported “strong” festive trading.

In a trading update, the owner of chains including Harvester, All Bar One and O’Neill’s said like-for-like sales rose 7.7% in the 15 weeks to 13 January. Total sales were up 9.7% over the period, with food sales increasing 8.7% and drink sales up 6.6%.

Mitchells & Butlers said it now believes full-year results will be “towards the top end of current consensus expectations” thanks to the strong start to 2024.

The company continues to focus on estate investment and has completed 34 conversions and remodels over the past year. It has also opened a new Alex bar in Germany and is “encouraged by the returns”.

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Aside from an anticipated 9.8% rise in the National Living Wage in April, Mitchells & Butlers believes cost pressures are “abating”.

Chief Executive Phil Urban said the company’s diverse brand portfolio and “enviable estate locations” mean it is “well positioned to continue to grow profitability and market share in the year ahead.”

Mitchells & Butlers’ share price has increased 55% over the last 12 months.