Sunny weather lifts Marston’s performance

Oliver Smith
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PUB CHAIN Marston’s full year results to 5 October yesterday showed encouraging performance on the back of good weather driving sales in the second half of the year.

Its Destination and Premium pub’s annual sales grew 2.2 per cent driven by food sales up 3.7 per cent.

Marston’s said profits from its Tavern pubs fell behind last year as sales failed to recover as much in the second half of the year.

Brewing remains a strong market for Marston’s with beer volumes up six per cent and bottled ale up 19 per cent for the year, both outperforming the rest of the ale market. “We are encouraged by our performance in the second-half year after challenging weather in the first half,” said Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay.

Marston’s opened 22 new build pub-restaurants, and are aiming for 25 openings over the next few years. It said it was aiming for disposal proceeds of £60-70m for the 2014 financial year, principally from its Taverns estate. “The performance of our new-build pubs is very strong. We have developed plans to accelerate the programme and intend to dispose more aggressively of lower-end pubs in order to pursue our key objectives of sustainable growth, improving returns and reducing leverage,” added Findlay.