- Restaurant and pub owner Mitchells & Butlers said its first-half profit fell, as higher staff, property and food costs squeezed margins and severe snow storms kept punters at home.

Pre-tax profit fell 8% to £69m, as revenue remained broadly flat at £1.13bn.

Like-for-like sales grew 1.6%.

'During the first half we continued to deliver like-for-like sales growth against a period of growth last year,' chief executive Phil Urban said.

'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.'

'Success in this highly competitive market is dependent on a continuous stream of improvements, and that is what we are focused on delivering. We have therefore embarked upon a new wave of initiatives which are in their early stages of development, and we believe have the potential to further transform the business.'

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