Midland pub chain Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) has reported a five per cent surge in sales off the back of rising food revenue.
The firm, based on Fleet Street, Birmingham, saw sales rise to £1.79 billion in the year to September 24, compared to £1.68 billion the year before.
The rise came on the back of a strategy to focus on growing food sales, which increased by 7.8 per cent across the period.
The group managed to improve operating margins to 16.3 per cent, and pre-tax profits rose to £132 million, after a pre-tax loss of £127 million was posted last year.
Executive chairman Bob Ivell said: “This is a resilient set of results despite a challenging year with a difficult consumer environment, board changes and a takeover approach.
“Mitchells & Butlers is a good business and our ambition is to make it a great business.
“We have a number of initiatives in place to do this including the simplification of our central support functions to enhance business performance. Overall, this gives us confidence in successfully growing the business in the year ahead.”
The group, which has been the subject of boardroom wrangles in recent years, managed to reduce its debt burden by £400 million – however, its net debt still stands at £1.87 billion.
In total the business raised £424 million through disposals in the year.
The group said the consumer environment “remains challenging”.
It said: “We expect inflationary cost pressures to persist in the new financial year, especially from energy, duty and food. We will seek to mitigate the impact of these cost increases with the effective implementation of our business initiatives and will continue to take advantage of attractive capital investment opportunities.
“Overall, Mitchells & Butlers’ strong portfolio of assets, brands and operational skills means that it is well positioned to grow further in the year ahead.”