Festive sales boost for pubs and brewing group Marston’s

Pubs and brewing company Marston's today reported strong trading over the Christmas period.

Pubs and brewing company Marston's today reported strong trading over the Christmas period. - Credit: PA

Pubs and brewing group Marston’s said today it served a record 60,000 meals on Christmas Day, helping it post strong festive sales figures.

Marston’s, which operates 1,700 pubs, said like-for-like sales at its pub restaurants and branded bars jumped 12.5% on Christmas Day and 4.8% over the key two-week holiday period to January 4.

It said it was on track to open 25 new pub restaurants this financial year, with eight scheduled to open in the first six months.

Under chief executive Ralph Findlay the group has focused on large pubs that cater for families and have large eating areas, while selling off smaller outlets without suitable places for dining.

It added in an update published ahead of the firm’s annual meeting that current trading has been in line with profit expectations.

The business runs hundreds of franchise and managed pubs and said like-for-like sales at these outlets grew 5.8% on Christmas Day, and by 2.7% over the Christmas fortnight.

Over the wider 16-week period to January 24 like-for-like sales at its owned pubs and its franchise and managed pubs both grew 2%.

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The company, whose brewing portfolio includes the brands Banks’s, Ringwood and Wychwood, said beer sales were up 4% in the year to date, with sales to supermarkets and off-licences up 8%. It added that sales of its biggest beer Hobgoblin lifted 10% over the year to date.

Mr Findlay said: “We have again traded well over the Christmas period, with good sales growth over the key Christmas fortnight for the third year in succession, including serving a record 60,000 meals on Christmas Day.”

Brokers at N+1 Singer said: “The annual meeting update shows that the business has good momentum. It traded strongly over Christmas despite strong comparatives.”

The City expects Marston’s to post full-year pre-tax profits up 10.6% to £91.8million.