All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers sees profit fall

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Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the pubs and restaurants group, has reported a drop in profit for the year despite a rise in sales after almost doubling its investment in the business.

M&B, whose chains include Harvester and All Bar One, said pre-tax profit fell 13.4% to £123m in the year to the end of September, despite sales rising 4%.

It spent £162m on the business, up from £88m the year before on upgrading its chains and new site openings.

We're "gathering momentum," M&B said.

"We have made significant progress, investing in the business for future growth...we expect to benefit further from these investments during this financial year" said M&B boss Alistair Darby.

It said despite the increase in UK consumer confidence, the "careful spending behaviour" developed during the recession had now become " the norm".

M&B said its strategy was to focus on food, which already accounts for three quarters of its sales, and said it saw a "significant opportunity" from all-day trading, offering breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

The firm, which owns around 1,700 outlets in total, also spent £266m in June to acquire 173 pubs from rival Orchid in June which it said was "a significant step to grow our business".

It plans to convert the majority of these pubs into its own brands.

M&B said despite a "challenging year", it remain confident for the year ahead.

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