Marston’s reports Like-for-Like sales Down as Omicron “Impacts Consumer Sentiment”

Brewer and retailer Marston’s has reported like-for-like sales of minus 3.9% for the 16-week period to 12 January 2022 (compared to the same period in 2019).

Total like-for-like sales for the period were (3.9)% vs. FY2019 reflecting the impact of the Omicron variant and consumer sentiment related to the new variant in the last 8 weeks. Total sales declined by (3.6)%. During the five-week period of December like-for-like sales compared to the market outside the M25* were 1% ahead of the market and total sales were 5% ahead

Prior to the emergence of Omicron and subsequent introduction of renewed restrictions, like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks to 27 November were +1.3%, as previously reported, with encouraging trading momentum.

As a result of government messaging including guidance to work from home and the call to limit social distancing, like-for-like sales were (8.8)% in the last eight weeks of the period under review.

Drinks sales have outperformed food sales during the period. From a geographic perspective, the group’s pubs in Wales and Scotland were more significantly impacted than those in England by the tighter restrictions that were enforced during the period.”

Chief executive Andrew Andrea said: “Whilst the emergence of the Omicron variant and subsequent government guidance temporarily impacted consumer sentiment, we remain confident that the strong trading momentum which we were experiencing prior to that will resume.

We welcome the various plans underway to gradually ease trading restrictions in Scotland and Wales. These, together with the reduction in the required self-isolation period and anticipation of an imminent end to the work from home directive, should enable some semblance of normalised trading patterns to return.”