Leading analyst Sion French, of Cenkos, has said yesterday’s full-year update from Mitchells & Butlers marked the first sign that Phil Urban’s strategy is delivering. 

M&B announced yesterday that in the 51 weeks to 17 September, like-for-like sales were down 0.8% - with food sales driving the fall. However, for the final eight weeks of the year, like-for-like sales rose 1.8%, driven by a 3.7% rise in drink like-for-like sales but with food also up 0.4%.

French said: “As previously guided operating margins will be down YOY due to higher labour costs and accelerated investment and we expect consensus EBIT to consolidate around £320m.

“More importantly the statement provides the first data point that Phil Urban’s strategy is delivering and should grow shareholder returns.”