Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has this morning announced a 1% decline in like-for-like sales for the nine weeks to 21 September, but said that it expected to deliver a full-year result in line with expectations.

Total sales growth in the first 51 weeks to 21 September was 2.1%, with like-for-like sales up 0.4%, driven by a 0.8% increase in food sales against a 0.3% decline in drinks sales.

In the most recent nine weeks of trading food sales declined by 0.1%, with drink sales down 2%. It said that like-for-like sales were lower in the fourth quarter against a strong comparative performance last year (+3.0%).

For the 42 weeks to 20 July, like-for-like sales climbed 0.7%, with food sales up 1% offset by a 0.1% decline in drink sales.

The company said that through the second half, its operating margin remained ahead of last year.  At the same time, it maintained its investment into guest-facing service and amenity.

M&B opened 16 new sites and converted or expanded six sites this financial year.

It said that the development of its pipeline of new sites for FY14 and FY15 is “progressing well”and it expects to increase investment into its most successful brands to open around 50 new sites a year over the medium term.

Alistair Darby, chief executive, said: “I am pleased with the progress we have made this year, while continuing to make the changes needed to position the business for the future.  Based on detailed consumer insight, we have focused our brands on delivering improved performance across a small number of priority areas.  These include further improvements in team engagement, operational practices and guest service, which will deliver the next stage of growth.”