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Merry Christmas! Brewery Marston's boast record festive beer sales

By John Corser | Business | Published:

Marston's enjoyed record Christmas Day sales of £4 million in its pubs and restaurants.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay at Marston's Wolverhampton headquarters

The Wolverhampton-headquartered breweries and pubs group revealed the figure in a trading update ahead of today's annual general meeting at the Molineux Stadium.

For the 16 weeks to January 20 there was growth in both sales and underlying earnings, helped by the acquisition of the Charles Wells Brewing Business in May last year and the contribution from 19 new-build pubs added in its last financial year.

Snow and icy weather in early December and between Christmas and the new year, caused some unavoidable disruption to the business and caused a £1m reduction in profits.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said he was very pleased with the Christmas Day performance which was 5.4 per cent up on the year.

"It shows that people are now more likely to go out and celebrate on the big day and our pubs are capturing a share of that," he said.

Mr Findlay said Marston's was maintaining a decent level of growth and not discounting heavily like some rivals in the industry.

Total sales for the 16 weeks were up 4.9 per cent reflecting the contribution from the estate expansion.

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Like-for-like sales in the period, excluding the impact of the two snow-affected weeks, were up 1.1 per cent. The weather impact on like-for like sales was around two per cent and on an unadjusted basis like-for-like sales were down 0.9 per cent in the period.

Marston’s Beer Company achieved good growth in the period with own-brewed volumes up 33 per cent. In addition to the acquisition of Charles Wells it was helped by distribution gains achieved in 2017 and a stronger brand portfolio in the premium ale, craft beer and ‘world beer’ segments of the market.

"Overall we had a fantastic first quarter in our beer business with very strong growth. There was a good performance across all our six breweries," added Mr Findlay.

Marston's remains on target to open 15 pub restaurants and bars and six lodges this year.

"We continue to achieve growth against tough market conditions and are benefitting from investment in both pubs and brewing. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with a great pub experience and excellent service, as well as delivering value for shareholders, over the year ahead," said Mr Findlay.

Marston's estate has grown to 1,568 pubs across the country and the business now employs around 14,500 people in total.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star business reporter at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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