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Marston's sales up after food boost

PUB group Marston's saw first half revenues rise after being fuelled by strong food sales.

The company, which has over 2,200 pubs across Britain, said sales at its managed pubs open for more than a year were up 1.4 per cent in the 26 weeks to 3 April.

During the half year, food sales were up 2.5 per cent and drink sales grew 0.5 per cent.

Meanwhile Marston's said trading over Easter had been slightly ahead of last year and that its operating margin continued to improve.

The company said in statement: "Although the trading environment remains challenging, we are encouraged by our performance in the first half.

"We remain on track to meet our expectations for the financial year and continue to see improvement in each of our trading divisions."

At Marston's tenanted pubs, which are owned by the company but managed by landlords, like-for-like profit in the period was down 4.6 per cent, an improvement on a 4.9 per cent decline in the 16 weeks to 23 January.

Shares in Marston's have risen 7.5 per cent so far this year.