- Pub and restaurant owner Mitchells & Butlers said sales for the 51 weeks to 19 September 2020 were down 35% on the previous year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group, which operates the Toby Carvery and Ember Inns brands, managed to arrange fresh financing arrangements with its creditors to expand available liquidity. It now has unsecured cash balances of £100 million as well as undrawn unsecured facilities of a further £140 million.

The company confirmed it had suspended its investment programme in March and would only consider resumption after a continuous review of operational performance and cashflow management.

“The future remains both challenging and uncertain, with only this week a curfew and other additional restrictions being imposed on how and when we can operate,” said Phil Urban, chief executive of the company.

“However, we believe we are well placed to meet that challenge and to keep Mitchells & Butlers at the forefront of the eating and drinking-out market.”

The company did see a significant uplift in food sales, fuelled by the UK government’s “eat out to help out” programme, with sales up 20.1% on the previous year.

Mr Urban said that, after the lockdown period, where most of the estate had been closed, he was pleased to welcome back guests, albeit trading under Covid-secure procedures.

He added: “I am particularly impressed by the way in which our teams have made this possible by responding to the challenge of our new operating environment with energy and enthusiasm.”

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