Marston’s upbeat as cask ale thrives

BREWER and pub group Marston’s said it had returned to growth in revenues and profits at the half year – fulled by cask ale and food sales.

The group, which makes ales including Pedigree and Hobgoblin, reported underlying profits up 0.4 per cent to £27.8m in the six months to 3 April.

Sales in its 491-strong managed pub business rose 1.4 per cent in the half-year as food sales offset a slower drinks trade, while it noted improving trends in the tenanted pub arm and sales up 8.6 per cent in the brewery division. Marston’s, which has around 2,200 pubs and bars in the UK, added that managed pub sales in the six weeks since the year-end rose 1.2 per cent.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “The cask ales have performed well and we are upbeat about this set of results. There is a lot of competition out there. Food sales are also strong in a tough trading environment and we are upbeat.”

The company’s interim dividend is 2.1p a share.