Wednesday 24 July 2019 11:40 am

Beer sales slump dampens Marston's share price

Shares in pub operator Marston’s plunged more than 10 per cent today as the company announced that beer sales growth slumped due to poor weather. 

Sales have been hit by 2019’s  “relatively poor weather” following last summer’s heatwave and the England football team’s World Cup success.

Read more: Marston’s cheers rise in profits after strong Easter

Like-for-like sales growth at Marston’s managed and franchised pubs increased by 0.5 per cent in the 42 weeks to 20 July however, the company said it had seen weaker sales in the last 16 weeks. 

The pub chain’s destination and premium venues reported like-for-like sales growth of 0.1 per cent and added that sales at its tavern pubs were 1.1 per cent ahead of last yea

The company announced it will accelerate its plan to cut net debt by £200m to generate an extra additional £40m to £50m of cash flow over the next three years. 

Marston’s said it will defer £70m of new-build investment planned for the next three years and reallocate £20m to £30m of funds into its organic capital plans. 

Ralph Findlay, Marston’s chief executive, said: “We have achieved modest growth during the 42 weeks to date continuing the long term positive like-for-like sales trend despite May and June being hampered by relatively poor weather.”

Read more: Marston’s raises a toast to solid profits

Tom Rosser, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, added: “The allocation of capital expenditure and slower sales growth may partly explain the fall in share price this morning but with warner weather predicted over the coming months, the company will hope that customers flock to the local pubs in order to attain fizzier sales growth figures.”