Marston’s has revealed that for the full-year ending 2 October 2021, trading has been at 94% of pre-Covid levels and benefited from the temporary VAT reduction on food and non-alcoholic drink sales.
Total pub sales were at £402m, representing 78% of last year, and reflected the “significant” disruption to trading from the pandemic.
For the most recent quarter from 25 July to 2 October, the group saw a return to growth compared with 2019, with sales 2% higher across the managed and franchised pubs.
The 10 weeks since 25 July overall saw sales continue to improve from the initial opening and are “in line” with expectations. Meanwhile, sales growth resumed with like-for-like sales achieving 102% compared with 2019 levels.
In regards to supply chain challenges, the group claimed to have seen some “small pockets of disruption” however, they are continuing to work closely with suppliers to manage this.
During the lockdown period, Marston’s entered into an agreement to operate a portfolio of 156 pubs from SA Brain, under a combination of leased and management contract arrangements.
These pubs reopened alongside the existing Marston’s pub estate in Wales and have performed “well and ahead” of expectations.
Andrew Andrea, CEO, said: “Our business benefits from an optimally balanced pub estate of food and wet led pubs that are predominately suburban, community based and well located for the changes in consumer behaviour that we are seeing.
“However, we are mindful of consumer confidence in the short term and the challenges impacting the economy and our industry. Government messaging will remain a key factor in determining sentiment.”
He added: “Looking ahead, we are now keenly focussed on our strategy of delivering exceptional experiences for our guests. We will continue to invest in our teams and pubs as we strive to meet our clear goals.”
The full preliminary results will be announced on 30 November 2021.