(Corrects first paragraph to read “...Wednesday...” instead of “...Tuesday...”)
May 17 (Reuters) - British pubs, bars and restaurants operator Mitchells & Butlers Plc reported a 9.6 percent drop in first-half pretax profits on Wednesday, saying that consumer confidence “has remained fragile” throughout this year and last.
The group, whose brands include All Bar One, Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One, Nicholson’s and O‘Neill‘s, said it was operating in a “challenging and uncertain environment” with regard to the economy as a whole and in its markets and added that there was therfore some caution over future demand.
Rising inflation and muted wage growth following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last June is forcing many consumers to rein in their spending.
Nevertheless the company said comparable sales in the 28 weeks to April 8 were up 1.6 percent, sharply lower than the 4.7 percent rise reported over the four weeks to Jan. 7, the festive period when it called trading ‘particularly strong’, but the latest results were affected by a later Easter holiday this year.
Like-for-like sales in the year to date, including the Easter period, are up 1.9 percent, the company said.
Revenue for the half-year period rose 2.5 percent to 1.12 billion pounds ($1.45 billion) but pretax profit slipped from 83 million pounds to 75 million pounds. The interim dividend was maintained at 2.5 pence a share. ($1 = 0.7733 pounds) (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Mahlich)