M&B parks up for growth
21 May, 2012
Mitchells & Butlers will step up its strategy of targeting retail and leisure parks on the back of the strong performance at new openings there.
As Peach Report reported last week, Mitchells & Butlers reported like for like sales growth of 2.7% in the 28 weeks to 7 April, and a total revenue rise of 6.3%. The company used its half-year update to signal where its future priorities lie—and it is clear that retail and leisure parks are close to the top.
It said 24 of its 35 new openings in the half-year period were on parks—including the 200th Harvester at the Pavilions in Peterborough. It said returns on leasehold sites had been “attractive” and that it would consolidate its entry into parks over the rest of the year. It has developed a preference for parks that blend retail and leisure use rather than pure retail sites.
Across all brands, M&B plans to open 55 new or converted sites in its full financial year. It singled out its Harvester concept—which won Peach’s Evolutionary Brand award late last year after a major modernization programme—as among its star performers in the half-year.
M&B also revealed that its growth had been driven by food sales, which jumped by 9.4% in total over the half-year, and by 3.4% on a like for like basis, compared to drinks growth of 2.2%. Sales had been particularly strong on key days like Valentine’s Day and the May Day bank holiday weekend, when like for likes were up by 5.4% and 4.5% respectively. But sales had been dampened since the period-end by the cold and wet April, which had pushed down like for like growth over a 33-week measure to 2.0%.
M&B said it was continuing with a major business change programme to drive sales growth, including a simplified organizational structure and the removal of about 90 support function roles; an emphasis on customer service delivery with “new ways of working for our managers and teams to deliver a step change in guest service”; and upgrades to IT infrastructure including free wi fi across its entire estate.