Marston’s boasts strong trading year

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

In great shape: Marston's celebrates preliminary trading results
In great shape: Marston's celebrates preliminary trading results

Related tags Finance Marston's pub company Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office Property

It’s been a strong year for Marston’s, as the company’s latest trading results revealed improved profitability, an uptick in net asset value and positive cash flow.

The operator’s preliminary results are for the 52 weeks ended 1 October 2022. The period under review, which commenced on 3 October 2021, included a period of disrupted trading in December 2021/January 2022 due to the Covid Omicron variant. 

The pubco, which operates 1,468 pubs, saw full year like-for-like sales at 99% of 2019 levels despite this disruption. Furthermore, drinks sales continued to outperform food sales and in the final 10 weeks of FY2022 like-for-like sales were up 3% versus 2019, and up 4% versus 2021. 

There was also an increase in pub operating profit from £5.7m in FY2021 to £115.4m.  

What’s more, the company experienced positive cash generation, debt reduction and NAV increase. It saw a £26m net cash inflow from operating activities, and an underlying net cash inflow (excluding one-offs) of £48m. 

Return to profit

Marston’s chief executive Andrew Andrea said he was “pleased” to report a strong performance over the last 12 months evidenced by a doubling of revenue growth, a return to profit and steady progress with our debt reduction strategy. 

“We have a clear and focused strategy which provides a strong platform for future growth, and it is encouraging to see the actions and initiatives which we have undertaken in 2022 beginning to deliver positive results,” he said. 

There was continued progress with the debt reduction strategy, with net debt excluding IFRS 16 reduced by £16m to £1,216m from £1,232m in 2021, despite the one-off £22m net outflows. 

Marston’s property value was marked at £2.1bn, representing an increase of £93.4m compared to 2021 levels. 

Net asset value per share rose by about 60% from 64p to £1.02 since October 2021, and £9.9m was generated from non-core disposals; disposals 40% ahead of net book value. 

Furthermore, the company had continued its ‘pubs to be proud of’ strategy. 22 transformational conversions had been completed and the pubco had exited from its Two for One format. 

Simplification of menus was also driving guest satisfaction and spend per ahead, as well as enhanced operational and purchasing efficiencies.  

Making progress

Andrea continued: “Demand for our predominantly community-based pubs continues to be encouraging despite ongoing macro uncertainty and our estate is well-placed to benefit from changing patterns in consumer behaviour.  

“We are managing cost inflation well and remain confident that our commitment to continue to reduce the Group’s debt and return sales to back to £1 billion will drive NAV and shareholder value.” 

According to the pubco, they were currently well-positioned to meet challenging marketing conditions. For the two England World Cup games, like-for-like drink sales were around 50% up versus 2021. 

Andrea said: “Current trading to the end of November has been positive with encouraging levels of Christmas bookings as we look forward to the first restriction free festive period in three years.  

“While uncertainty remains, Marston’s remains well-financed and in great shape to weather the challenges ahead with the right formula, the right strategy and the right team to continue to make progress and deliver shareholder value.”  

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