September 21, 2017 / 6:23 AM / in a year

Mitchells & Butlers blames weather as drink sales fall

(Reuters) - British pubs group Mitchells & Butlers Plc said its drinks sales shrank 1.2 percent in the past eight weeks, blaming poor weather compared to last year, although food sales rose.

The group, whose pubs include Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One, said food sales grew by 1.5 percent in the eight weeks through Sept. 16.

Food and drink each contribute about half of the group’s revenues.

The group reported a 2.9 percent rise for the 51-week period to Sept. 16.

It reiterated its warning that margins for the full year will be below last year due to inflationary cost pressures.

Like other operators in the sector, Mitchells & Butlers has been battling increased costs, most notably from wage inflation, property costs and exchange rate movements.

Market research company Coffer Peach said sales across the UK pub sector rose 0.2 percent in August from a year earlier.

Shares in Mitchell & Butlers — a FTSE 250 company — were flat at 0715 GMT.

Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton

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