Marston’s Report Sales and Christmas Bookings Up

Marston’s who operate 1,414 pubs, have announced its Preliminary Results for the 52 weeks ended 30 September 2023, reporting its like-for-like sales are up 7.4% since September and that Christmas bookings are tracking well and ahead of last year.

In its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 30 September 2023, the operator of 1,414 UK pubs said current trading is “positive” and that it is “continuing to manage inflationary challenges within our control”, with electricity fixed until end of FY2024 and gas until end of March 2025, while offsetting other costs through efficiencies and pricing strategies. “The positive trading momentum from last year has continued, with like-for-like sales in our managed and franchised pubs since year end up 7.4% versus the same period last year, with growth in both,” it said. “Bookings for the Christmas period are promising and tracking ahead of last year.

As always, walk-in trade represents a significant proportion of overall sales over the period; however, the booking momentum demonstrates that, despite economic pressures, people still want to go out and celebrate in a pub. We remain cognisant of the current macroeconomic environment, and the resulting challenges this brings in respect of cost inflation and the potential impact on disposable income. However, pubs have historically demonstrated their resilience as an affordable treat and there is no discernible evidence in our trading performance to suggest that there has been a material change to consumer behaviour.”

It comes as the business reported revenue increased 9.1% to £872.3m (2022: £799.6m) during the period, with total retail sales in the group’s managed and franchised pubs for the 52-week period up 9.8% on last year, and like-for-like retail sales for the year as a whole were up 10.1% versus FY2022. Underlying operating profit excluding income from associates was £124.8m (2022: £115.4m).

Commenting, William Rucker, Chair said:
“We have continued to make positive progress on our key goals and strategic initiatives. The consumer has remained resilient despite the macro backdrop and Marston’s continues to trade well, achieving market outperformance.

We anticipate an improving outlook in which cost headwinds are largely abating and like-for-like sales are up over 7% since the year end. This, together with the actions we have taken this year to drive further efficiencies, leave us confident that Marston’s remains well-placed to continue to outperform and to grow revenue, margin and profitability.

We look forward to welcoming Justin Platt who joins the Group as CEO in January. The business is in good shape and well-positioned to take advantage of the future opportunities open to us to create value for our shareholders under his stewardship.”