StockMarketWire.com - Mitchells & Butlers reported a 4.1% increase in first-half like-for-like sales and a return to operating profit growth as it continued to outperform the market even amid continued uncertainty from the UK political and economic landscape.

The market grew around 1% over the same period, it said.

Food sales climbed 3.5% while drink sales grew 4.5% with growth generated across both its invested and uninvested as its Ignite 2 initiatives improved performance across all the firm's brands.

"This strong performance comes from the progress we continue to make in our three priority areas: building a more balanced business; instilling a more commercial culture; and driving an innovation agenda," said Chief Executive Phil Urban.

The increase in like-for-like sales boosted revenue, too, which was 5% higher than prior-year figures at £1.186bn.

In the last 33 weeks to 18 May - including the period since the first half - the company said that like-for-like sales were up 3.8%.

The company also reported a return to operating profit growth as its adjusted operating profit benefited from the absence of last year's cold weather and snow, growing 7.1% year on year to £151m. The benefit of Easter would, however, fall in the second half.

"Looking forward, whilst we expect the market we operate in to remain tough and with limited visibility, we are confident in our ability to continue to out-perform based on the many initiatives that we are now seeing make a real difference to both the competitiveness and efficiency of our business," the company said.

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