Marston’s pub group has reported that overall sales for the 42 weeks to 24 July 2021 have been “encouraging, and better than expectations”.
In the first week of trading since restrictions were lifted on 19 July, the group said it saw a “modest uplift” in sales adding that whilst this is “clearly encouraging, it is too early to extrapolate any meaningful trends at this stage”.
Since 17 May, the stronger performance has been driven by a combination of additional food covers, outdoor investment, warmer weather and the benefit of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
The Brains estate, the operations of which were acquired in February of this year, has also performed well since reopening, with trading trends mirroring those of the core Marston’s estate.
Meanwhile, accommodation sales have been “excellent” benefitting from restrictions on international travel and the growth in staycation holidays.
Ralph Findlay, CEO, Marston’s, said: “The last 16 months have been extremely difficult, but we are delighted to be fully open again albeit taking our responsibilities seriously whilst striving to offer our guests a genuine but safe pub experience.
“We believe that a government review of the business rates system is long overdue and that VAT reduction should be permanent since the hospitality industry remains one of the most heavily taxed sectors.”
He added: “Despite these challenges the role that the pub plays in the social fabric and culture of Britain as demonstrated by the pent-up demand and the rapid return of customers, is needed as never before, and therefore we are confident in our future.”