Marston's reports 2.2% rise in like-for-like managed sales

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Marston's reports 2.2% rise in like-for-like managed sales
Marston’s, the brewer and pub operator, has reported a 2.2% rise in like-for-like sales in its managed estate for the year to 29 September, and said the growth of its franchise estate has led to operating profits in its tenanted, leased and franchise pubs rising 3%.

Like-for-like food sales in the managed arm grew 2.4%, with wet sales up 2.1%. Operating margins were “slightly ahead” of the previous year.

“We completed 25 new pub-restaurants with investment returns remaining strong and above target. The impact of our new-build programme over the past three years has been significant, substantially increasing our exposure to the informal dining market and contributing to continuous improvement in the quality of our pub estate,” Marston’s said.

“We aim to continue to develop our managed pub estate at a similar rate of growth for the foreseeable future, and have a clear development pipeline including 20-25 sites planned for completion in the 2013 financial year subject to planning.”

Marston’s said its franchised estate now numbers around 500 sites. “Pubs operated under the traditional leased and tenanted model contributed profits in line with last year,” the firm said.

Own-brewed beer volumes are 2% ahead of last year, with growth in both premium cask and bottled ales, the company said.

Meanwhile, an external valuation of its estate in H2 found it to be worth £2bn, broadly in line with 2011 figures. The managed estate increased by £163m, reflecting the value created by its new builds - new builds built since 2009 have been valued at a premium to build cost of over 50%.

The value of the tenanted and franchised estate fell by £186m, reflecting the lower multiples being achieved from the sale of tenanted pubs in the current market.

Marston’s also announced the appointment of Peter Dalzell as a main board director with immediate effect.

“This appointment follows our decision to bring together the management of all of our pubs in one team, reporting to Peter, to provide the optimal structure for ensuring maximum operating flexibility within our pub estate,” the company said.

“Peter joined the Group in 1995; he has extensive experience in operating our managed, leased and tenanted pubs, and was instrumental in the development of our franchise business for which he has been responsible since 2011. Stephen Oliver will continue to report to Ralph Findlay, chief executive officer, as managing director of Marston’s Beer Company.”

Findlay said: “We have been encouraged by the performance of all areas of our business this year despite the challenging consumer environment and the poor weather.

“Our continued focus on offering value for money to our customers together with high service and quality standards is appropriate for current market conditions, and is generating profitable growth with improved returns. The recent valuation exercise demonstrates the inherent quality of our pub estate and in particular highlights the significant value created by our new-build pub-restaurants.”

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