* Like-for-like sales down 0.1 pct for first 8 weeks of 2013
* Shares fall as much as 5 pct
By Karen Rebelo
Nov 27 British pubs and restaurants group
Mitchells & Butlers Plc reported a rise in full-year
profit but like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the
new year were flat, sending its shares down as much as 5
The owner of All Bar One, Harvester and O'Neills chains said
alcohol duty increases and food price inflation remained a
concern for business in the new year.
"We clearly feel there will be continued pressure on food
costs," Non-executive Chairman Bob Ivell told Reuters.
"Food costs last year were particularly high, if you look at
things like red meat, particularly in the first half."
British pub and restaurant companies, which also face
competition from supermarkets, have had a mixed year. Sales were
hit by heavy rain in April and June but rebounded later as
Britons celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and London hosted
"Current trading looks mellow ... with MAB continuing to
underperform its peers," Shore Capital analyst Greg Johnson said
in a research note.
Smaller rival JD Wetherspoon Plc reported a 7
percent increase in first-quarter like-for-like sales earlier
Mitchells & Butlers' adjusted profit before tax rose to 162
million pounds ($259.6 million) for the 52 weeks to Sept. 22
from 156 million pounds last year.
The company, which also owns the Toby Carvery and Browns
chains, said like-for-like sales rose 2.1 percent, led by food.
"The more mid- to upper-market brands continued to do well,"
Ivell said. "The value end of the market ... that is where it's
been tougher, because that is where a lot of people are throwing
a lot of discounts."
Shares in Mitchells & Butlers, which is majority owned by
billionaire currency trader and Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe
Lewis, were down 3.17 percent at 320 pence at 0925 GMT on the
London Stock Exchange.