Mitchells & Butlers, the pub and restaurant operator, has this morning unveiled full-year like-for-like sales growth of 4.1%. Food like-for-like sales were ahead 7.3%, with drink up 3.2%. Food now accounts for 35% of the sales mix, while beer is now 28%. Underlying profits (ebitda) were up 6.7% to £430m on sales up 5.5% to £1.72bn. Profits at a pre-tax level were up 10.1% at £208m. In the seven weeks since its year end, like-for-likes have pushed ahead to 4.5%, or 2.9% on an uninvested basis. Both measures exclude the £497m package acquired from Whitbread earlier in the year. Of the 239 pub-restaurants acquired, 25 have been reopened under M&B's own brands. It expects to have 50 reopened by Christmas and 100 open by Easter. M&B expects to invest £85m in the acquired sites over the next 18 months, resulting in a 30% uplift in sales and a 50% uplift in ebitda. It said it continued to evaluate opportunities to acquire further packages of pubs. Average weekly sales across the M&B estate rose 6% to £17,500. Food now accounts for 35% of the sales mix at M&B, and 60% of sales are derived from food-driven ancillary items. M&B sells 96 million meals each year. Margins were ahead 0.3% despite a £24m increase in costs, derived from energy bills, minimum wage increases and business rate rises. The company expects regulatory and energy cost increases of about £14m in the current year. In Scotland, which represents 4% of the estate and where smoking in pubs is now banned, like-for-like sales are 1.1% ahead for the first seven weeks of the current financial year, with food up 7% and drink sales down 2%. The company said: “Sales growth has slowed as the autumn has drawn in and we continue to believe that a full winter's trading is required before taking a definitive view on the ban's effect.” The company has moved 200 pubs in England and Wales to non-smoking, with a less than 1% impact on the rate of sales growth. Based on an independent valuation, the company estimates that the property value of its pub estate is now £5.5bn. It said the possibility of benefiting from the tax advantages of operating a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) was being “closely examined” by the board.