Pub chain Marston’s sees hope in food sales but swings to loss

PUB chain Marston’s said it had got off to a good start to its new financial year, but reported an annual loss yesterday owing to an impairment charge on its taverns.

The owner of more than 2,000 pubs, including the Pitcher and Piano chain, said trading in October and November had improved on last year. This was almost entirely down to food sales, which have been up 3.4 per cent since September.

However, Marston’s – which also brews ales such as Pedigree – saw a pre-tax loss of £135.5m in the 12 months ending 29 September, after an £80m profit in the year before. This was due to a £223m writedown on the value of Marston’s property.

Revenues improved by 5.5 per cent to £720m, which chief executive Ralph Findlay said was a resilient performance during the wet summer which has affected most of the UK’s pub chains.