The brewer and pub operator reported like-for-like sales up 2% for the 16 week period to 24 January in its Destination and Premium arm, with both food and drink like-for-like sales growth of 2%
The company said in its Taverns division managed and franchise pub like-for-like sales were 2% ahead of last year, with 2.7% growth over the Christmas fortnight and 5.8% growth on Christmas Day.
Marston’s said: “Our franchise model continues to prove successful, providing motivated licensees with local flexibility and reduced risk while improving the quality, consistency and value of the consumer offer.
It said operating margins were ahead of last year and its plans to open at least 25 new-pub restaurants in the current financial year were on track, with eight openings expected in the first half.
In Leased, profits were around 1% ahead of last year.
In Brewing, group ale volumes were up 4% in the year to date. Hobgoblin saw volumes up 10% in the year to date.
Value for money
Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “We have again traded well over the Christmas period, with good sales growth over the key Christmas fortnight for the third year in succession, including serving a record 60,000 meals on Christmas Day. This performance demonstrates that our customers remain attracted to the consistency and value for money we offer, underpinned by excellent service in a high quality environment.
"In addition, our Beer business continues to perform well, with a particularly strong performance in the off-trade. We remain confident of achieving our expectations for the full year.”