Marston’s joins UK pub chains in World Cup profit boost

Like many UK pub owners, the World Cup boosted sales and profits at Marston’s, the company said, but it is planning to scale down its expansion next year as Brexit increases the UK’s economic uncertainty.

Marston’s, one of the UK’s biggest brewers, reported a 4% surge in pre-tax profits in its 2018 financial results on Wednesday 21 November, chiming with executives’ expectations.

The company saw record revenues of £1.1 billion this year, up 15% since 2017. Like-for-like sales also rose 0.6%, marking the company’s fifth consecutive year of growth.

Ralph Findlay, CEO said Marston’s has performed well in a “difficult market,” benefiting from last year’s acquisition of the Charles Wells Beer Business (CWBB), with total beer volumes up 47% this year.

Charles Wells sold its former brewery and the majority of its beer brands to Marston’s last year in a deal worth £55 million.

Like Ei Group, n unusually warm summer across the UK and increased footfall driven by the FIFA World Cup.

“Our balanced business model has stood us in good stead, delivering record sales and underlying profits with revenue exceeding £1.1 billion for the first time.”

However, the CEO warned that, given the current health of the UK’s casual dining sector, its food-led sites may struggle next year.

“Our Taverns, wet-led community pubs and market-leading brewing business had an outstanding year, more than offsetting the effects of weather volatility and the World Cup on our food-led pubs.”

Marston’s has said it plans to open a further 10 pubs this year, down from the 14 it opened over the past 12 months.

The company has also reinvested in its brewing arm, with a new canning line in Burton and new distribution centre in Thurrock.

“Macro-economic and political uncertainty is reflected in our capital plans this year,” Findlay said.

“However, the outlook for good pubs and brewing remains attractive and Marston’s is well placed to leverage the opportunity this presents with our high quality, well invested estate, leading brands and great people.

“We expect to make positive progress once again in the current financial year.”

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