Marston's announces £40m hit to sales

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Confidence project: Marston's said it is entering an uncertain trading situation when its pubs open up from 4 July
Confidence project: Marston's said it is entering an uncertain trading situation when its pubs open up from 4 July

Related tags Coronavirus

Pub company Marston's experienced a hit of £40m to sales due to the coronavirus lockdown, prompting its chief executive to say he was uncertain about how its pubs would perform in the short-term reopening period.

In financial performance results released today (Friday 26 June), the pub company disclosed an underlying pre-tax profit of £9.4m for the six months ended 28 March. This was in comparison to £34.2m last year.

It also said its underlying revenue had dropped from £553.1m to £510.5m over the same period.

Marston’s had reduced its debt by £39m to £1.38bn, excluding lease liabilities, as of 2 March.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said the company was “well-placed” for the recovery period in the medium term, with its results citing its pub estate, which has sites situated outside city centres, with 90% having outside space.

However, the company said it was uncertain about its initial revenue and earnings when pubs are allowed to reopen from Saturday 4 July.

Findlay said: “Our immediate priority is to prepare our pubs to reopen on 4 July. While there is short-term uncertainty as the sector emerges from lockdown, we are focused on offering a great guest experience, synonymous with Marston’s hospitality, to welcome our customers back into our pubs within a safe trading environment. 

Rebuilding confidence

He added: “The challenges facing the sector should not be underestimated and much rests on consumer confidence, which may take time to rebuild.”

“As the industry navigates its way out of lockdown, we will continue to urge Government for continued support for pubs and wider hospitality, through the reopening phase and thereafter through business rates relief and cuts to VAT, to protect jobs, the economy and the invaluable role the pub plays in communities nationwide. 

The company is soon to combine its brewing arm with Carlsberg UK, which Findlay said positioned Marston’s well for the future.

He added: “Post completion, Marston’s will be a focused pub and accommodation business with a significantly strengthened balance sheet, well-placed to rebuild trading momentum and leverage the market opportunities available to us over the medium to longer term.”

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