Mitchells & Butlers, the managed operator, has reported a 3% rise in like-for-like sales in the nine weeks to 15 September, with like-for-likes up 2.1% for the 51 weeks of the year to date. In the nine weeks, food growth, at +2.7%, was slower than drink (+3.5%). Across the 51 weeks, growth was 2.9% for food and 1.4% for drink. In the first 51 weeks of the year, total sales for the retained estate were up 5.2%. Total company sales, including the impact from the major disposals last year, grew 3.2%. “There was little discernible impact on sales overall from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, although some businesses located near Games venues did benefit,” M&B said. “Operating margins are showing progress from the half year as anticipated, however full year margins are still expected to be slightly behind last year as a result of inflationary cost increases together with an increased investment in service in our restaurants and pubs.” Bob Ivell, executive chairman, said: “Trading has held up well over the summer despite the generally adverse weather. Our business transformation programme remains on track, driving a sharp focus on enhanced guest service and increased cost efficiency. “We look forward to welcoming Alistair Darby next month as chief executive and working with him to continue to grow the business, whilst seeking to further strengthen the board with the appointment of independent non-executive directors.”