August 2, 2018 / 7:09 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Mitchells & Butlers food sales drop, offsetting drinks demand during World Cup

(Adds details on food, drinks business)

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Mitchells & Butlers Plc’s quarterly comparable sales growth came in just under 1 percent, as its food sales dropped due to Britons favouring its pubs during the football World Cup over its restaurants.

Comparable food sales fell 1.8 percent in the 11 weeks ended July 28, the company said on Thursday, while sustained sunny weather also helped drinks sales grow 3.9 percent.

The company, which operates over 1,800 pubs, bars and restaurants and owns brands such as All Bar One, Harvester and Toby Carvery, said higher overall costs would likely dent margins more than the previous year.

Mitchells & Butlers has been struggling with cost pressures and warned in May as wage inflation and increased food and drink costs drag margins.

“We have been encouraged to see sales recover now that the World Cup has finished”, Chief Executive Phil Urban said on Thursday.

The company, which reiterated its full-year outlook, said year-to-date sales were up 0.4 percent. (Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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