Marston's has become the latest in the line of big companies to report positive sales over Christmas, with like-for-like sales in its managed pubs for the 16 weeks to 21 January up 5% on the previous year.

Like-for-like food sales climbed 5.5% but wet sales also rose by 4.8%. And like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to 21 January were up 7% as a result of the poor weather in the previous year.

Marston's said operating margins were "in line" with last year and its plan to build around 25 pub-restaurants in the current financial year remained on track.

Meanwhile, the company also saw some improvement in its leased, tenanted and franchised pubs. Profits for the 16-week period were estimated to be around 3% above last year, with 4% growth in the eight weeks to 21 January.

In Marston's Beer Company, its own-brewed beer volumes were 2% above last year. Premium cask ale was up 3% and bottled ale up 7% compared with last year.

Marston's profits rise despite poor December weather >>

New-build pubs and food drive Marston's growth >>

Marston's reports 'encouraging' performance for 2010/2011 >>

By Neil Gerrard

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