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"Outstanding performance" in own beer brands boost sales at pub group, lodge operator and brewer Marston's

Francesca Washtell
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Marston's beer brands posted double-digit sales growth in 2016 (Source: Marston's)

Pub group Marston's was toasting its brewing arm this morning after its own-brand beer volumes registered double-digit growth over the year.

The figures

The Resolution and Hobgoblin brewer's own beer brands grew 13 per cent in the year ended 1 October, in line with management expectations.

Like-for-like sales in Marston's destination and premium pubs were up 2.3 per cent on last year, the company said today in a trading update. Drink sales grew 2.3 per cent, while food sales rose 1.7 per cent over the year.

Marston's opened 22 new pubs and bars and six lodges, and is angling to open at least another 22 pubs and bars and five lodges in 2017, weighted towards the second half of the year.

Read more: Make Marston's a large one as food and drink sales progress

In the group's taverns arm, like-for-like sales were 2.7 per cent ahead of last year and like-for-likes in its leased arm lifted two per cent.

Shares in the pubco were up 0.7 per cent this morning to 143.6p.

Marston's Marston's | mobile image

Why it's interesting

Marston's beer business outperformed in the first half of this year, with volumes up 22 per cent, and its Hobgoblin Gold (launched in 2014) now classed as a "top 15" premium ale.

Read more: Marston's just took another gulp of Thwaites

With positive trading over the last 10 weeks in its premium (up 1.8 per cent) and taverns (up two per cent) arms, the company has avoided any referendum blues and managed to capitalise on a post-Brexit spending spree that has favoured pubs and other leisure activities.

The pub company has opted to base its more than 1,600 venues mostly outside of the capital, favouring the regions and suburban areas where it can be a big fish in the small pond of less-competitive markets.

The group will publish its full-year results on 24 November.

What Marston's said

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said:

Marston's has delivered another year of solid progress with underlying growth across all of our pub divisions and continued outstanding performance from our market-leading beer business. Trading has continued at similar levels since the year end which is encouraging.

In addition, our new pub-restaurants, lodges and revere premium pubs all continue to perform well. Looking forward, our estate is well balanced and we have a well-developed, strong pipeline of sites to continue our current level of expansion.

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