Marston’s sales lifted by healthy pub food figures

PUB chain Marston’s reported a sales rise yesterday, fuelled by the performance of its meal deals.

The company said its “lunch for a fiver” offer and a free drink with a sandwich order helped the group improve its managed pubs food sales by five per cent in the year to the end of September.

Including drinks sales, the managed business saw like-for-like sales growth of 2.9 per cent over the full year.

The tenanted and leased chain saw a slim improvement in profits, running about 0.6 per cent ahead of last year.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said that level of momentum was encouraging given the difficult trading conditions in the pubs industry.

Marston’s, which brews Pedigree and Hobgoblin, said results would be in line with expectations, with analysts looking for pre-tax profits of around £80m. Brewing volumes rose two per cent on the year with premium cask ales up five per cent and bottled beers up six per cent.

Meanwhile fellow brewer and pub owner Shepherd Neame said turnover for the year to June was up five per cent to £121m, while profits were up nearly 10 per cent to £8m. The firm, which makes Spitfire and Bishops Finger, also saw volumes rise.