Pub operator Marston’s has reported a total loss of £397 million up until October 3, 2020 which saw the entire pub estate closed for 15 weeks due to the Covid pandemic.
Marstons also reported that their pubs traded at 90% of 2019 levels in its fourth quarter of a 53-week period that ended on 3 October, this was 7% ahead of the overall pub sector. Sales fell to £821m from £1,173.5m the year before – and there was a loss of £22m compared with a profit of £95.1m the previous year. The company has made a £2m investment in “Inside-Out” schemes to increase capacity in winter months.
The results also revealed that the group improved its net cash flow by £61 million through making £75 million worth of disposals and the company also reported it had invested £2 million in its “inside-out” scheme to increase capacity during the winter months.
The company also said that it has “sufficient cash liquidity” to cope with the current tier 2 restrictions in various parts of the United Kingdom and is hoping to reduce borrowings to below £1 billion by 2024
Commenting, Ralph Findlay, CEO said:
“2020 has been an extraordinarily difficult year for the pub and wider hospitality sector which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. I would like to thank the entire team at Marston’s for their loyalty, dedication and hard work in such trying circumstances.
“Whilst short-term uncertainty remains, we have taken swift action to future-proof the business to withstand the challenges presented by the pandemic and Marston’s has emerged a significantly stronger business, with a substantially strengthened balance sheet and well placed to rebuild trading momentum when restrictions are eased. The roll out of the vaccine is clearly critical to that, but in the meantime the sector continues to face major challenges and Government support will need to continue in order for many viable businesses to survive.
“Looking forward, Marston’s has entered the current year fit for the future and excited about the next chapter in the Company’s development as a focussed pub and accommodation operator. We look forward to realising the potential of the Group’s brewing JV with Carlsberg and wish the team at CMBC every success. There is clear evidence that consumer demand for our pubs remains strong and our geography, as a predominantly community pub operator with 90% of our well invested, high quality pubs located outside city centres, leaves Marston’s well placed to leverage the market opportunities available to us over the medium to longer term.”