Pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers reveals that strong trading levels through the core three-week festive season was strong, with like-for-like sales growth of 3.9%.
Christmas Day was a record taking day with like-for-like sales growth of 5.4% and 225,000 meals sold.
Over the full seven- week period since the last update , sales performance has been encouraging, although impacted by the adverse weather particularly in the run up to the Christmas. T
Adjusting to align calendar dates, like-for-like sales growth was 1.6% over the previous 7 weeks and 2.2% in the year to date.
The company said it continued to make good progress with plans to build a more balanced estate, in particular ‘premiumising’ its offers where possible and reducing the remodel lifecycle.
Mitchells & Butlers has opened two new sites and completed 114 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date and remain encouraged by returns being generated. The company expects to complete around 270 remodels and conversions in the full year.
Phil Urban, Chief Executive, commented on the latest figures: "We are pleased to have delivered continued strong trading results over the important festive period in the face of difficult weather for many of our guests, indicating the attractiveness of our offers in a competitive market".
Mitchells share price has jumped around this year in what has been a highly challenging environment for companies in this sector. In November 2017, the company reported a drop in profits as a result of cost headwinds and also cancelled dividend payments.
This week, analysts at Numis Securities downgraded Mitchells and Butlers and Greene King as the brokerage grew increasingly cautious on managed pubs given the sector's above-average exposure to labour costs and high operational gearing.
Numis downgraded both stocks to 'reduce' after deeming the recent share price strengthening of 11% at Mitchells and 6% at Greene King over the last quarter as "unjustified".