Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has reported soaring food sales at its pubs in Scotland in the wake of the smoking ban, which came into force at the end of March.
In a pre-close trading update today covering the 18 week period since its interim results to 16 September, M&B said food sales were up 11% at its Scottish pubs compared with the same period a year earlier.
Food sales north of the border make up 28% of the company’s sales mix.
With drink sales down 1%, this meant overall like-for-like sales in Scotland were 2.6% ahead of the previous year, although the company said this rate of growth was lower that that at its pubs elsewhere in Britain.
Overall like-for-like sales in the period were up 3.8%, with pub-restaurants such as Harvester and Toby Carvery suffering an expected fall in sales during the World Cup in June but bouncing back strongly since.
In the 50 weeks of the year like-for-like food sales at the company’s 2,000-plus estate were 7.4% higher, with food and drink prices approximately 2% ahead.
Despite this the company conceded it had plenty to do with the 239 pubs acquired from Whitbread earlier this year, which are not included in the above figures.
In the seven weeks of ownership the sites have continued their sales decline and M&B, which has started the conversion process at ten locations, expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral this financial year.
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