M&B looks to marketing to drive growth plans

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) says increased marketing activity has helped drive sales up across its portfolio of pub and restaurant brands.

The managed pub company says campaigns for brands including Harvester and Toby Carvery helped increase like for like sales by 1.9% in the first half of its financial year.

M&B launched the first television advertising campaign for Toby in March and has trialled a TV campaign for Harvester to push the brand’s new “salad and grill” positioning.

The upturn in activity comes as the company readies a move away from its price-sensitive drinks-led business to concentrate on its food offering.

It plans to double the number of its six “active” brands – Crown Carveries, Harvester, Premium Country Dining, Sizzling Pub Co, Toby Carvery and Vintage Inns – to around 1900 by opening outlets in retail parks and smaller Harvester and Toby high street variants.

M&B posted pre-tax profit of £73m in the 28 weeks to 10 April, up 55.3% on the same period last year.

The results follow a strategic review by recently appointed chairman John Lovering, who was brought in to replace the rejected Simon Laffin who left after a shareholder battle.

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