(Bloomberg) --

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers Plc rose the most in more than nine months after the U.K. pub operator said there’s been an encouraging improvement in business since pandemic restrictions were lifted in July. 

Like-for-like sales increased 2.7% in the eight weeks since the last fiscal year ended, compared with the same pre-pandemic period in 2019, the company said in a statement Thursday. A lower rate of value-added tax on food and non-alcoholic drinks has helped, the owner of Harvester and All Bar One brands said. The stock rose as much as 7.7%, the most since Feb. 22. 

Mitchells & Butlers shares have climbed 11% this year, outpacing peers JD Wetherspoon Plc and Marston’s Plc. “M&B should gain material market share through re-opening,” Jefferies analyst James Wheatcroft wrote in a note Thursday. 

The stock pared gains to be 1.8% higher as of 9:11 a.m. in London.

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