The figures for the managed estate included food like-for-like sales growth of 1.7% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 1.7%. In the last 11 weeks of the period like-for-like sales have grown 2.2%.
The Taverns division saw like-for-like sales rise 3.1% in the last 11 weeks. The company said its franchise business, which now operates around 550 sites, continues to perform strongly “as we evolve and develop the business model”.
25 new pub-restaurants
Marston’s said operating margin was ahead of last year and that it completed 25 new pub-restaurants in the financial year just ended.
It said underlying profit before tax was in line with expectations
The company said: “As we highlighted at the Interim Results, the shape of our estate expansion will evolve slightly and in the 2016 Financial Year we plan to open at least 20 Destination pub-restaurants, two Revere sites and five Lodges. We have a good pipeline of sites to maintain similar levels of expansion for the foreseeable future.”
In Brewing, excluding the Thwaites portfolio, own brand beer volumes were up 5% compared to last year, with strong performance in premium ales and the off-trade. Including Thwaites, own-brewed beer volumes were up 15%.
Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “The group has made good progress in the last year, with underlying growth in all of the business segments. Our new pub-restaurants, premium pubs and lodges have all performed well and we have good visibility over the site pipeline to underpin our future growth. In addition, we have substantially completed our disposal programme of smaller wet-led pubs. These actions, together with the success of franchise, have significantly transformed our pub business over the last three years.
“In brewing, the integration of the Thwaites’ brewing business has gone well, and we are well placed to continue to exploit the market growth in premium and craft beers and ongoing growth in the off-trade.”
The group announced it would no longer provide like for like, segmental current trading data for the short seven week period immediately post the year end with effect from the results for the 12 months to 3 October 2015 which will be reported on 26 November 2015.
The company also concluded the triennial valuation of its pension scheme for the period ended 30 September 2014 and as a consequence agreed a reduction in cash contributions from the current £13m to £7.5m per annum.