BREWER and pub chain Marston’s announced it will create another 1,000 jobs next year through its continued expansion, as the group reported a 9.4 per cent rise in full year pre-tax profits.
Chief executive Ralph Findlay told City AM that the government needed to be “constructive” and “make the link” between its taxation policy, particularly on beer duty, and the impact on the one million people employed by the industry.
“This sector is one in part that can offer flexible employment and to young people – which is where we are really suffering in terms of unemployment.
“Beer duty has gone up by 35 per cent or so already in the last three years. You can imagine the damaging impact that has had not just on pubs but also on breweries.”
The company, which owns 2,150 pubs across Britain, posted an underlying profit before tax of £80.4m for the year ending 1 October, up from £73.5m last year.
Like-for-like sales at its managed pubs, which include the Pitcher & Piano chain, rose by 2.9 per cent, thanks to higher footfall.
Findlay said that whilst consumer confidence was weak, “customers have continued eating out” with pubs faring better than restaurants.
“The reason for that is the level of service and the quality of what pubs offer has steadily improved but pubs are offering that at prices customers can afford,” he said.
Marston’s said it had sold more than 26m meals over the year, charging an average of £6.10. Food sales are up by five per cent on a year ago.
Revenue across its tenanted pubs rose by 7.7 per cent, helped by pubs taking up its new “retail agreements”, in which Martson’s supplies drink and food for a share of the revenue.
The group has opened 19 new restaurant-pubs this year and has 25 openings planned for 2025.