Marston’s records fifth consecutive like-for-like sales increase

By Stuart Stone contact

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Remarkable numbers: Ralph Findlay claims a 'balanced business model' has helped Marston's achieve record revenues
Remarkable numbers: Ralph Findlay claims a 'balanced business model' has helped Marston's achieve record revenues

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Brewer and pub operator Marston’s has reported a fifth year of like-for-like sales growth off the back of this summer’s heatwave and World Cup.

Revealing preliminary results for the 52 weeks ending 29 September 2018, Marston’s​ announced that like-for-like sales across the group’s 1,545 pubs grew by 0.6% – with wet-led pubs outperforming food-led sites – and average profit per pub increased by 2%.

The company’s underlying revenue for the period exceeded £1bn, climbing by 15% to £1.14bn, with underlying profit before tax rising by 4% to £104m – both record figures.

Moreover, Marston’s brewing operation – which produces cask and package ales including Marston’s Pedigree, Wainwright, and Hobgoblin – saw total volume increase 47%, reflecting the benefits of acquiring Charles Wells Brewing and Beer (CWBB) as well as successful World Cup trading.

According to latest results, Marston’s sold more than 1m barrels of own and licensed brands, and around 2.2m barrels in total, to around a quarter of the UK’s on-trade outlets, with the company on track to deliver at least £4m target synergies from the CWBB acquisition.

In terms of estate growth, Marston’s has 10 new pub-restaurants and bars and five new lodges earmarked for 2019, building on the acquisition of 15 pubs from Aprirose in October 2018.

There are also plans to invest in the company’s canning line in Burton-on-Trent, east Staffordshire, and a new distribution centre in Thurrock, Essex.

Record sales and underlying profits

Marston’s​ chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “Marston’s has performed well in a difficult market.

“Our balanced business model has stood us in good stead, delivering record sales and underlying profits with revenue exceeding £1.1bn for the first time.

“Our taverns, wet-led community pubs and market-leading brewing business had an outstanding year, more than offsetting the effects of weather volatility and the World Cup on our food-led pubs.

“Macro-economic and political uncertainty is reflected in our capital plans this year.

“However, the outlook for good pubs and brewing remains attractive and Marston’s is well placed to leverage the opportunity this presents with our high-quality, well-invested estate, leading brands and great people.

“We expect to make positive progress once again in the current financial year.”

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