Pub chain Mitchells & Butlers says rain hit sales

man drinking beer
Image caption Mitchells and Butlers says the retail environment remains "challenging"

Pubs group Mitchells & Butlers has reported a slowdown in sales, saying the recent wet weather has hit trade.

The owner of some of the UK's best-known pub chains, including All Bar One and Harvester, said sales measured in outlets open for more than a year were little-changed.

Sales growth for the 11 weeks to 7 April was 0.2%, compared with a rise of 4.4% in the previous quarter.

M&B owns 1,600 sites, including Toby Carvery and O'Neills pubs.

Taking the two quarters together, sales were up 2.7%, with food sales 3.4% higher and drink sales up by 2.2%.

Profit before tax and exceptional items was £68m for the six months to 7 April, compared with £63m a year earlier.

Exceptional items included a £6m charge for fighting off a bid approach last year from Piedmont, and a $14m charge for an internal restructuring and IT reorganisation which the company says should result in a £10m of annualised savings.

Bob Ivell, the company's executive chairman, said the outlook for the business was uncertain.

"The consumer environment remains challenging, however cost inflationary pressures are expected to ease marginally in the second half of the year," he said.

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