British brewing and pub business Marston’s has been hit hard by lockdown restrictions with pub sales falling 22 per cent this year to stand at £402m.
Since April 12 the pub has seen trading reach 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels on average as pub-going made a comeback over the Summer. However, Marston’s estate of 1,500 pubs was only open for 54 per cent of total trading days for the year ending October 2021 with the company reporting net borrowings of £1.2bn.
Commenting on the results chief executive Andrew Andrea said, “we are encouraged by the trading momentum which we have experienced since April and pleased to be trading robustly and above 2019 levels again.
“Our business benefits from an optimally balanced pub estate of food and wet led pubs that are predominately suburban, community based and well located for the changes in consumer behaviour that we are seeing,” she added.
While the company’s financials took a hammering as a result of lockdown restrictions they were lifted by a joint venture between Marston and Carlsberg which saw the two companies share brewing and distribution assets.
The venture generated net income of £223m for Marston PLC which owns a 40 per cent stake in the project.
Marston’s was also encouraged by food sales rising 2 per cent above pre pandemic levels between August and October, with drinks sales at 99 per cent of figures for 2019.
Share price has remained fairly flat in the wake of the trading update dipping 0.18 per cent to 72.72 GBX at the time of writing.