M&B sells 333 pubs to focus on food

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has sold 333 pubs to Stonegate Pub Company for £373m as part of its strategy to become a food-led business.

Toby Carvery campaign
Toby Carvery campaign

The company says the proceeds from the sale of the “non-core” pubs will be reinvested into “informal eating out” outlets.

M&B announced in March that it intended to “rapidly reshape” its business and move away from the “price-sensitive drinks-led business” model of old.

It plans to open high street variants of its Harvester and Toby Carvery chains and new outlets in leisure parks and retail parks.

The company also aims to grow its Crown Carveries, Sizzling Pub Co, Premium Country Dining Group and Vintage Inns brands.
M&B has been working with advertising agency St. Luke’s on campaigns to push core brands Harvester, Toby Carvery and Ember Inns.

Adam Fowle, chief executive of the company, says the pub disposals, coupled with the recent sale of its lodge and bowling businesses, complete the first stage of its strategy, designed to “deliver attractive growth”.

The shift in focus follows a strategic review called for by chairman John Lovering, who was brought in to replace the rejected Simon Laffin after a shareholder battle earlier this week.

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