Pub company Marston’s reported depleted revenue for the financial year but said trading momentum had rebuilt since the easing of lockdown measures.
Total pub revenue for the year was £402m, down 22 per cent on last year, which the operator said was a result of Covid trading disruptions.
Andrew Andrea, CEO said: “While there are still some challenges to navigate over the months ahead, we believe the worst of the pandemic is now behind us and Marston’s has emerged a stronger, more focused business which is in great shape.”
Following the lifting of Covid restrictions in July, like-for-like sales were 102 per cent of 2019.
Marston’s reported an underlying pre-tax loss of £100m pounds for the 12 months ended 2 October, compared with a loss of £22m a year earlier.
The pub operator was optimistic despite the rising cost of living and alarm over the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
“We have not seen an immediate wave of cancellations,” Andrew Andrea, CEO of Marston’s, told CityA.M, regarding consumer sentiment being swayed by recent headlines.
Marston’s results came as Dr Jenny Harries, head of the UK’s Health Security Agency, advised the public to consider socialising less to combat the spread of Covid.
“The demand is out there for people to go out and have a good December. There is always going to be different opinions expressed on socialising, people will increasingly make up their own minds,” Andrea said, in response to Harries’ comments.
Going to the pub is seen as an “affordable choice,” while other lifestyle choices may be given up as bills rise, the pub boss said.
“During the financial crisis there was enormous pressure on the consumer and we rode that storm pretty well,” he added.
Although it was “still early days”, Andrea said Christmas bookings looked “encouraging”.