Marston's feeling hop-timistic as sales and pub numbers grow

Pubs and breweries group Marston's has reported good trading over the Christmas and new year period.

Marston's feeling hop-timistic as sales and pub numbers grow

The Wolverhampton-based company's annual general meeting yesterday heard that for the 16 weeks to January 21 in its destination and premium pubs, like-for-like sales were 1.5 per cent ahead of last year including like-for-like food sales growth of 0.6 per cent.

Plans to open at least 20 new pub-restaurants and bars and five lodges in the current financial year are on track.

In brewing the group's own-brewed volume sales are up three per cent in the year to date.

Marston's chief executive Ralph Findlay said: "We traded well over the Christmas period with like-for-like sales growth for the fifth successive year despite tough comparatives.

"In brewing, we have continued to outperform and once again have achieved good growth with a particularly strong performance in the off-trade."

Expectations for the group for the full year are unchanged. Results for the half year to April 1 will be announced on May 17.

Marston's, which employs around 14,000, has an estate of 1,569 pubs around the country including managed, franchised and leased pubs.

It is the UK's leading brewer of premium cask and bottled ales, including Marston's Pedigree, Wainwright and Hobgoblin. The beer portfolio also includes Banks's, Jennings, Wychwood, Ringwood, Brakspear and Mansfield beers.

Profit more than doubled at Marston's for the year to the start of October to £80.8 million with sales hitting an all-time record £905.8m.

Marston's is spending £140m in the present financial year on new pubs and revamping existing properties.

The company has seen profit growing across all arms of its business.

The takeover of the Thwaites brewing business helped boost revenue last year when its refurbishments included the Oldfellows and Swan at Compton and the Clarendon in Chapel Ash. The city's Claregate pub – saved in 2015 from redevelopment as a care home after a campaign by locals – is also in line for refurbishment this year.

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