Mitchells & Butlers, the pub and restaurant group, has released a trading update showing a slight slowdown in like-for-like sales growth. Like-for-likes were up 3.8% in the 18 weeks to 16 September. M&B said the performance of its food-led businesses was pegged back in June by the World Cup. It said that trading had rebounded strongly since, with like-for-like sales up 5.3% across the estate in the 10 weeks since the football tournament ended. In Scotland, like-for-like sales were positive since the ban, although the growth was slower than England and Wales, at 2.6%. Drinks sales were down 1%, while food sales (currently 28% of the sales mix) were ahead 11%. For the year to date (50 weeks to 16 September) like-for-like sales were ahead 4.1%. Food like-for-likes were up 7.4%. Drink sales were up 3.2% reflecting the continuing gradual change in the sales mix away from beer and spirits, to food, soft drinks and wine. Across the estate average food and drink prices were approximately 2% higher than last year, reflecting both price increases on standard products and menu extensions in both drink and food. Average weekly sales per managed pub were up 6% to £17,500. The company said that strong volume performance, cost controls, productivity gains and some improved purchasing terms had offset a £24m rise in regulatory and energy costs, enabling M&B to move operating margins slightly ahead of last year. The performance of the 239 pub-restaurants acquired from Whitbread had continued to decline during the period. M&B said it was on site with the first 10 development projects.