Marston’s reports solid peformance in challenging market

Marston’s PLC has issued its trading update for the 16 week period to 19 January 2019, showing total pub like-for-like sales growth of 1.4%, including strong trading over the Christmas fortnight.

The like-for-like sales growth stood at 5.7%., and total pub margins were broadly in line with last year.

In Destination and Premium, like-for-like sales increased by 0.5% in the 16 week period, including like-for-like sales growth of 4.5% in the Christmas fortnight.

In Taverns, trading has continued to be strong with managed and franchised like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%, including growth of 8.1% in the Christmas fortnight. The performance of its tenanted and leased estate was robust, with earnings up 1% in the 16 week period.

The company continues to make good progress in its Beer Company with total volumes up 3.5%, and own-brewed and licensed volumes up 2.5%, with particularly strong performances in both the Free Trade and Off-Trade channels.

CEO Ralph Findlay said, “Marston’s continues to perform well and this is a creditable performance in a challenging market. Taverns and the Beer Company both delivered strong trading over the core festive period in particular, continuing the trajectory of recent months, and our managed food-led pubs also returned to growth.

“We operate in increasingly uncertain times from a political and macro-economic perspective and, as such, we remain cautious about the potential consumer outlook until there is more clarity.

'However, we are confident of delivering further profitable growth this year, whilst focussing on our strategic priorities of generating cash and delivering our stated £0.2bn debt reduction target between 2020 and 2023.

'In addition, we are committed to maintaining the dividend at the current level during this period and believe that the combination of these actions will drive long term value for shareholders.”