12:32 Tuesday 22 January 2013

Pub giant announces 'strong' financial figures

Written byBY ROB SMYTH

A BURTON pub giant has announced an ‘encouraging’ set of financial results from during the Christmas and New Year period.

Marston’s, based in Shobnall Road, revealed that like-for-like sales for the 16 weeks to January 19 were up by 1.2 per cent

Food sales also grew by 3.5 per cent in the 15 weeks to January 12 ahead of the recent bad weather.

Trading over the festive period was described as ‘strong’ with an increase of 5.8 per cent overall and 10 per cent on Christmas Day.

Marston’s says it has seen ‘significant growth’ in shop-bought beer, driven by customers drinking at home rather than buying a pint at their local.

But it has also enjoyed good sales in pubs because they target families eating out.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said today: “The results for the year to date are further evidence that our strategy is appropriate for the current environment and is generating consistent and encouraging results.

“We expect economic pressure to continue to constrain consumer confidence and see no evidence that the Government recognises the damage being caused to pubs by high taxation and over-regulation.

“Nevertheless, we are confident of making further progress towards our objectives of sustainable growth, higher return on capital and reduced leverage.”

The results were released as Marston’s plans to open 24 pubs this year, creating around 1,000 jobs.

Marston’s, which brews Pedigree, said trading in its tenanted and franchised pubs, profits were up two per cent.

The franchise model is now operating in around 550 of Marston’s 2,150 pubs.

Marston’s employs around 13,000 people but it recently announced 30 job losses as part of savings in head office roles.

The firm will release its half-year results in May.

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