Marston’s ‘to dispose of £50m of non-core and unlicensed sites’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Financial update: Marston's also reveals it's latest trading update for the half-year period to the end of March (image: Getty/years)
Financial update: Marston's also reveals it's latest trading update for the half-year period to the end of March (image: Getty/years)

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

Pub company Marston’s has revealed it expects to dispose of £50m of non-core and unlicensed sites in its latest trading report, for the 26 weeks ending 30 March 2024.

In the update, it also revealed disposal proceeds of £9.6m were realised in the period, which achieved net book value. Since the end of the first half of the financial year, around £16m of additional disposals have either been sold or exchanged.

Furthermore, the results showed a 5.2% rise in revenue to £428.1m, compared to the first half of the 2023 financial year with like-for-like sales for the period up 7.3% and strong momentum from food and drink sales.

Within its pub business, Marston’s operated 209 pubs under the traditional tenanted and leased model, generating revenues of £17.1m (down from £18.7m in the first half of the 2023 financial year).

Moreover, accommodation sales were consistently strong at £14.9m (compared to £15m against the same period in 2023).

Sales rise

The report also looked at the past six weeks where like-for-like sales were up 4% against last year, excluding the impact of the additional May bank holiday, last year like-for-like sales were up 5.3%.

Business performance in the first half of 2024 was described as positive. Marston’s said while the macroeconomic environment remained challenging, its focus on community pubs with minimal exposure to the more volatile demand in city centre establishments continue to deliver successful results.

It stated the company benefitted from an estate that is balanced across formats and locations with well-invested pubs while it is set for sustainable like-for-like growth and shareholder value creation over the medium to long term.

CEO Justin Platt, who replaced former boss Andrew Andrea​ earlier this year (January), reflected on the firm’s performance and was optimistic about the future.

He said: “A positive H1, Marston’s has delivered strong like-for-like sales growth of 7.3%, outperforming the market and achieving an impressive 22% uplift in pub operating profit.

“We have managed costs well and made further progress to reduce debt. This performance is testament to the dedication and hard work of our talented team, who constantly strive to delight our pub-loving guests."

Encouraging outlook

Platt added: “The outlook for H2 is encouraging. With a number of ‘must not miss’ major sporting events, our massively upgraded pub gardens and much-loved food menus, we expect our pubs to be very popular this summer.

“Reflecting on my first few months with Marston’s, I am very excited by the potential that lies ahead.

“The UK pub market offers significant value-driving opportunities for those who can engage and deliver for their guests.

“With our high-quality estate and guest obsessed team we are well placed to capitalise and to deliver consistent, reliable cashflows that will drive value for our shareholders.”

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