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Food sales drive Marston's growth

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UK pub firm and brewery Marston's enjoyed a successful performance over the last 12 months despite poor weather and a lack of consumer confidence, something its chief executive attributed partly to its so-called F-Plan - the decision to install restaurant equipment in many of its bars in a bid to diversify its potential customer base.

Food continued to be central to the group's policy throughout 2012, with like-for-like sales up by 2.4 per cent and now representing 44 per cent of total purchases from the firm.

More than 28 million warm meals were sold over the previous 12 months, as the company pushes its image as a family-friendly place for a casual meal and attempts to encroach on the casual-dining market.

Group revenue increased by 5.5 per cent to £719.7 million overall, while underlying profit before tax jumped by 9.2 per cent.

Chief executive officer Ralph Findlay noted that the results demonstrate a great deal of resilience, especially given the difficult conditions the company has had to cope with over the last year.

"All areas of the business achieved increased revenue and profit in the year, demonstrating the continuing appeal of good pubs and beers," added Mr Findlay.

Although he anticipates the economy will continue to be soft for the foreseeable future, the chief executive reassured shareholders that Marston's has a plan in place for coping with any problems that may occur.

In addition to enjoying strong growth in sales, the pub chain continued to expand its portfolio, opening 25 new-build pubs and implementing plans to launch between 20 and 25 more in the new year.

Furthermore, franchise agreements were made with roughly 500 UK pubs over the last 12 months, delivering strong profit growth for the company.

Marston's also has an unrivalled portfolio of beer brands, producing over 60 permanent and temporary types of ale.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801498258-ADNFCR

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