Pubgoers unbothered by World Cup

pint of beer The World Cup left Britain's pubs a little flat, as it emerged that the tournament had no knock-on effect in driving booze sales.

Mitchells & Butlers, Britain’s largest managed pubs group, had a disappointing World Cup as football fans spent less per head on food and no more on drink during the tournament.

The company, behind the Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One and Country Pubs chains, had flat sales in the 14 weeks to July 19 with food marginally up (0.6%) and drink slightly down (0.5%). That is against overall growth of 1.1% in the first half.

M&B, which added 173 pubs to its roster last month when it paid £266m for the Orchid estate, said overall sales grew 3.8 per cent in the third quarter.

Chief executive Alistair Darby said: “Despite the slowdown in eating and drinking during May and June we remain confident in our well-established strategy.”

Their rivals Marston's had a similar tale of woe when it came to their 1800 pubs, with sales stabilising, but had strong growth in supermarket and offy sales of its own brews – including Marston’s Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Banks’s, which grew 10% during the World Cup, as customers stocked up in supermarkets to watch the tournament at home.

Barclays analysts have said the slowdown at both pub groups was linked to a slight softening in consumer spending, but they were also faced with tough comparatives from last year.

It's also clear that people would rather shout at Adrian Chiles from their own sofa, than join a chorus of abuse down at the local.

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