Trading in the new financial year has remained strong, driven by sales growth across the main brands with same outlet like-for-like sales growth of 3.4% in the 6 weeks to 2 January 2010. Sales in the key ten day period over Christmas and New Year, which was less affected by the recent poor weather, were up by 4.9%. In the first 14 weeks of the financial year, same outlet like-for-like sales growth was 3.3%.
Note: total like-for-like sales include other non food and drink categories
In the last 6 weeks, same outlet like-for-like food and drink sales were up 5.5% and 2.1% respectively. In our Residential and High Street pubs, like-for-like sales were up 3.8% and 2.9% respectively.
Net margins for the first 14 weeks are 1.5% points better than last year as a result of pricing actions, reduced food cost inflation, continued productivity gains and lower energy costs.
Cash Flow and Financing
The business continues to generate strong operational cash inflows supported by disposals of £15m in the year to date. Drawings on the unsecured medium term facility of £369m as at 7 January 2010 are well below the current facility of £475m and also below the next required facility step down at the end of June 2010 to £425m.
The Board is still cautious on the outlook for consumer spending especially in the second half of the year. However, Mitchells & Butlers' leading brands and proven operational ability mean that we can face the future with confidence.
There will be a conference call for analysts and investors at 9.30am; please dial +44 (0) 1452 555 566 and quote conf ID 50015206. The replay will be available until 20/01/10 on +44 (0) 1452 55 00 00, replay access number 50015206#.
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