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Marston's hails impact of food in pubs

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UK pub operator Marston's enjoyed an impressive 12 months of trading against a difficult economic backdrop, with chief executive Ralph Findlay suggesting that food sales helped drive up profits and widen the firm's potential customer base.

In managed pubs, sales were up by 2.2 per cent from last year, including like-for-like food sales growth of 2.4 per cent and like-for-like alcohol growth of 2.1 per cent.

"We have been encouraged by the performance of all areas of our business this year despite the challenging consumer environment and the poor weather," said Mr Findley.

Marston's has attempted to move towards a more food-led operating model in recent years, installing kitchen equipment in many of its sites and stressing the importance of providing a family-friendly experience.

Over the last 12 months the firm built 25 new pub-restaurants and claimed returns on these investments continue to be above-target, with the impact of new-build sites over the last three years hailed as a high point for the business.

Furthermore, the company plans to continue its investment scheme and build between 20 and 25 new establishments over the 2013 financial year.

"Our continued focus on offering value for money to our customers together with high service and quality standards is appropriate for current market conditions, and is generating profitable growth with improved returns," added the chief executive.

In addition to its managed pubs, Marston's works with roughly 500 franchised pubs operating under leased and tenanted models, with profits in these sites up by roughly three per cent from last year.

Marston's is one of the UK's biggest pub operators, with a portfolio of around 2,150 pubs and bars situated across England and Wales as well as its own brewery producing a number of premium cask ales.

It has a history dating back to the 1890s and was first listed on the London stock exchange in 1947.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801468514-ADNFCR

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