Marston's boosted by food sales

PUB group Marston's saw sales grow after a festive food boost – but the cold snap hit takings.

Sales at managed pubs open more than a year were up 1.5 per cent in the 16 weeks to 3 January.

That included a 2.9 per cent increase in the five weeks to 2 January – with food sales up by 4.4 per cent.

However Marston’s, which has 2,200 managed pubs, said trading had tailed off early this month with sales down by 5.9 per cent after heavy snowfall saw drinkers staying at home.

The group said its operating margin was slightly ahead of last year as a result of tight cost control and reduced cost pressures.

At Marston’s tenanted pubs, which are owned by the company but managed by landlords, like-for-like profit in the 16-week period was down 4.9 per cent, an improvement on a decline of seven per cent in the 12 months to 3 October last year.

Marston's said the outlook for the British economy remained uncertain with the impact of tax increases on consumer confidence yet yet to be seen.