Marston's on schedule with pub openings as like-for-likes increase
14 March, 2012
Marston's, the pub operator and brewer, this morning reported "resilient" trading for the 23 weeks to 10 March with like-for-like sales in its managed pubs up 3.5% on last year.
Like-for-like food sales grew 3.9%, with like-for-like wet sales ahead 3.4% - reflecting the recent trend in the sector for drink sales growth to catch up with food expansion. Operating margin was in line with last year, the company said, adding that its plan to build around 25 pub-restaurants in the current financial year remained on track.
Chief executive Ralph Findlay said Marston's trading performance remained resilient, "reflecting the continuing appeal of value, service and quality in attractive pubs."
Findlay admitted that after a good Christmas and New Year, market conditions had, as the company had anticipated, been more subdued against stronger prior year comparatives "which benefited in part from milder weather". Profitability continued to be in line with expectations, although no more recent like-for-like figures were given.
This week, the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, reported collective like-for-like sales for major pub and restaurant groups down 3.7% in February, following a 2.1% fall in January.
In Marston's tenanted and franchised pubs, underlying profits continued to increase with profits estimated to be 3% ahead of last year. "Our performance reflects the successful rollout of Retail Agreements in our franchise estate, now in around 400 pubs, and robust trading in the traditional tenanted estate," said the ceo.
Own brewed beer volumes wereup 2% versus last year. Our focus on localness and premium ale continued to drive growth, with premium cask ale up 2% and bottled ale up 10% in the period.
Findlay added: “We expect the consumer backdrop to remain weak in 2012, but with potential for better trading periods around Euro 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”
Marston's has an estate of around 2,150 managed, tenanted and leased pubs around the country. Its beers Marston's Pedigree, Hobgoblin, Banks's, Jennings, Wychwood, Ringwood, Brakspear and Mansfield beers.
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