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All Bar One owner cuts 1,300 jobs following major losses

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Watch: COVID-19: Mitchells & Butlers reveals 1,300 workers made redundant

All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers (MAB.L) confirmed that it will cut around 1,300 jobs following £123m ($164m) annual loss due to coronavirus pandemic.

The company said in a trading statement on Thursday that like-for-like sales over the period declined by 3.5%. A “strong start to the year” was superseded by the subsequent impact of a “prolonged period of enforced closure and social distancing restrictions.”

Total sales of £1.47bn declined by 34.1%, reflecting the closure period from 20 March to 4 July.

The company said earlier in November that it was closing up to 20 of its pubs and restaurants and started redundancy consultations with staff. At the time, it did not disclose how many roles were at risk.

"Throughout a very uncertain and challenging year our businesses and teams have adapted quickly, creating a safe environment for guests and putting us in a strong position to benefit when consumers are able to eat out again,” said chief executive Phil Urban.

Beer is poured from a tap at Black Plague Brewery during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Oceanside, California, U.S., October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Beer is poured from a tap. (Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters)

“We saw direct evidence of this from a strong trading period in July and August before further restrictions came into force.”

“The reduced levels of activity and closure of a small number of our sites meant that we could no longer support these roles,” the company said in the statement.

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers were trading just slightly to the downside on the news, after already falling sharply earlier this week:

Chart: Yahoo Finance
Chart: Yahoo Finance

The second lockdown in England forced the chain to close all pubs and restaurants.

Like-for-like sales since the end of the financial period had declined by 26.5% reflecting the heightened restrictions. Total sales over the same period declined by 50.8% driven primarily by closures in England.

Despite the news, bosses said they are optimistic about the future.

“With our great estate, balanced portfolio of brands and proven management team, we remain optimistic that we will be able to regain the momentum previously built and continue to achieve sustained market outperformance, when the current operating restrictions are eased," said Urban.

READ MORE: England's bars and cafes 'in intensive care' as lockdown hits pre-Christmas trade

On 17 November, business leaders warned that bars, restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels have been left in “intensive care” by England’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of hospitality trade body UKHospitality, said 660,000 jobs have already been lost this year in the sector. Some 40% of annual revenues are earned on average between Halloween and New Year’s Eve, she added.

The news comes as UK pub owner Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA.L) also said on Thursday that it has shed one in five jobs over the past year, as the UK pub and hotel group battled coronavirus restrictions on trade.

Watch: What is the Job Support Scheme and how has it changed?

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