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Nov. 26, 2020, 2:57 a.m. EST

Mitchells & Butlers swings to loss on pub closures

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By Joe Hoppe

Mitchells & Butlers PLC said Thursday that it swung to a pretax loss in fiscal 2020 after the enforced closure of its business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.K. pub-and-restaurant group --which houses the Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One and Miller & Carter brands-- said its pretax loss was 123.0 million pounds ($164.7 million) in the year ended Sept. 26, compared with a profit of GBP177 million in fiscal 2019.

Revenue fell 34% to GBP1.48 billion, while like-for-like sales fell by 3.5%, which the company said was better than market peers.

The company said that early fiscal 2021 like-for-like sales were down 26.5%, driven by the second lockdown in England which started on Nov. 5.

Mitchells & Butlers said the market continues to be challenging and it is unable to provide guidance, with a level of material uncertainty stemming from a lack of clarity on the extent of lockdown measures.

Reverse stress test modeling found that a shortfall of 4% lower sales beyond its base-case scenario could result in breaches of its financial commitments, though Mitchell & Butlers added it could negotiate covenant waivers in that case.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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