Pub group Marston’s reports strong sales

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent increase Beer

Both food and drink sales increased at Marston's
Both food and drink sales increased at Marston's
Marston’s, the brewer and pub group, this morning said it was making good progress in each of its trading divisions, with sales growth in its managed pub arm up 2.4 per cent for the 23 weeks to 12th March 2011.

The group, led by Ralph Findlay, said that performance in its managed arm was driven by a 4.7 per cent increase in like-for-like food sales and like-for-like wet sales growth of 1.5 per cent

In a trading update, the group said that comparable sales in the past seven weeks were 3.0 per cent ahead of last year. Operating margin is also slightly ahead of last year.

At the company’s tenanted and leased pub arm, underlying profit trends have continued to improve.

Like-for-like profits were estimated to be 0.1 per cent ahead of last year, which compares favourably to the 4 per cent decline in financial year 2010.

The company said this improvement in performance was primarily due “to the continuing successful rollout of the franchise-style Retail Agreement, which will be operating in around 190 pubs by the half-year”

It said that the profit performance of the pubs, which will remain on traditional agreements for the long-term is ahead of last year.

Own-brewed beer volumes were up 4 per cent across the period compared to last year, against a UK ale market down by around 7 per cent.

Localness

The company said that its focus on localness and premium ale “continues to drive growth, with premium cask ale up 5 per cent and bottled ale up 16 per cent in the period”.

Net debt and cash flow are in line with our expectations.

The group said it was on target to open 20 new pubs in the year to 30 September 2011, and had completed five new pub-restaurants to date with a further three due to complete in the next eight weeks.

It said that the remaining 12 pubs are on target to open by the end of the financial year.

The company reported that the performance of its new pub openings “continues to be ahead of our original targets, reinforcing the merit of the new-build strategy”.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive said: "The performance of the group in the year to date has been encouraging.

"Our consistent focus on offering our consumers value for money in high quality pubs, together with sector-leading shares in growth segments of the beer market, places us in a strong position for the future."

Mark Wingett is associate editor at BigHospitality sister publication M&C Report

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