Marston’s has reported resilient trading for the first half of the year despite the adverse impact of poor weather.
The pub company reported a 20% increase in revenue to £528.1m and profit before tax of £36.3m, up 8%, for the 26 weeks ended 31 March 2018.
This was mostly driven by the acquisition of the Charles Wells brewing business, and new openings and acquisitions. Positive like-for-like sales in its taverns business offset weaker sales in its destination and premium pubs, which were hit by the impact of poor weather.
Ralph Findlay, chief executive, said: “We are pleased to report another period of good growth in revenue and underlying profit before tax. Strong trading in brewing and taverns and leased pubs offsets the adverse impact of poor weather on ‘drive-to’ pubs in our destination estate, further validating the resilience of our model.
“We have made modest and prudent adjustments to our capital plans to reflect the current economic and consumer climate. However, Marston’s is a balanced business and we are confident that the medium-term outlook for the eating-out and wet-led pub sectors remains good and that targeting an increased profitable share of a growing market through an unremitting focus on quality, service, standards and value for money remains key.”
The company has opened six pubs and bars over the last six months as well as six lodges, taking its estate to more than 1,500 rooms. It said its 2018 openings are performing strongly and the group is on target to open 15 more sites during the financial year.
However, it is targeting 10 pub and bar and five lodge openings in 2019 – a net capital reduction of £25m from its original plans.
Marston’s has 1,564 pubs across the UK, comprising managed, franchised and leased pubs. The group announced earlier this year that chairman Roger Devlin will step down from the board at the end of May. The search for his successor is underway; in the meantime Carolyn Bradley has been appointed interim chair.