UK: Heatwave sees surge in sales for pub operators M&B, Marston’s, Fullers and Shepherd Neame

One of Mitchells & Butlers' All Bar One bars in London

One of Mitchells & Butlers' All Bar One bars in London - Credit: Archant

Four more pub operators today announced encouraging sales trends following the long-awaited onset of summer.

Mitchells & Butlers reported that like-for-like sales were 2% higher in the nine weeks to July 20 while Marston’s said takings at its food-based pubs were 6% up in the 10 weeks to July 20.

Fuller, Smith & Turner reported like-for-like growth of 10% in the last four months and and Shepherd Neame said its retail sales were up 3.3% in the year to June 29, against 2.9% at the half-year stage.

M&B, which has around 1,600 restaurants and pubs includes the Harvester and Toby Carvery chains, said its rate of sales growth was almost three times its 0.7% improvement seen across the year to date.

Drink sales grew 2.7% in its third quarter to July 20, compared with a 0.2% increase in food sales.

M&B chief executive Alistair Darby said while “cash in people’s pockets remains tight”, trading was in line with its expectations.

Brewer Marston’s, which has 2,100 pubs around the UK including the Pitcher & Piano and Revere chains, said the growth in its 340-strong division of food-based premium pubs had not been matched by its bigger community and leased pubs divisions where sales were flat.

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However, it said this largely reflected a boost to trade a year ago from the Euro 2012 football tournament.

Marston’s also revealed thatit has raised £35million from selling unwanted pubs this year, as it shrinks to focus on more profitable food-based pubs.

London-based brewer Fullers, which has around 400 pubs and hotels, mainly in the south, said its recent growth had accelerated from 7% in its last update in June.

Chief executive Simon Emeny added that while the boost from “several weeks of barbecue weather” was small in the context of its long-term future, it was well-placed to grow.

Kent brewer Shepherd Neame meanwhile said that its like-for-like retail sales were up 3.3% for the 52 weeks to June 29, compared with growth of 2.9% at the half-year stage, although earnings per pub within its tenanted division slowed from 3.9% to 3.0%.

Today’s figures follow upbeat trading from pub chain JD Wetherspoon, which suggested yesterday that increasing optimism about the economy had helped drive its like-for-like sales 3.5% higher in the 11 weeks to July 14.