U.K. Pubs The Latest Snowstorm Casualty as Summer Days Loom
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. snowstorms in February and March took another casualty on Wednesday: the nation’s pub operators.
Shares of Mitchells & Butlers Plc tumbled as much as 12 percent, the most in almost six months, after the operator of the All Bar One chain said the “exceptionally bad weather” cost it about 12 million pounds ($16 million) in lost sales. Rival Marston’s Plc fell as much as 7.4 percent after saying poor weather also hurt business in the 26-week period ended March 31. Greene King Plc and JD Wetherspoon Plc also dropped.
Shore Capital cut its full-year pretax profit estimate for Marston’s to reflect the impact of March’s snow, while Morgan Stanley analysts expect to lower their estimate of earnings before interest and taxes for Mitchells & Butlers by 2 million pounds to 3 million pounds.
The news provides a contrast with this week’s statement from City Pub Group Plc, which said a recent strong performance had made up for the snow-affected weeks, no doubt helped by two mini-heatwaves.
Sales for the industry may depend on how the weather pans out for the rest of the summer. The end of May could “well remain mostly dry and warm” in southern and south-eastern parts, the U.K. Met Office said on its website. Northern and western regions may get more cloud and rain heading into June, it said, a forecast that may cause furrowed brows for pub industry executives.
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