Marston's reports strong festive sales growth

Pub operator Marston’s (LSE: MARS) has reported “strong trading” over the key Christmas period, with sales at its managed and franchised pubs jumping 8.8% year-on-year in the 16 weeks to January 20.

The company said sales were boosted by “strong sales of both food and drink”, demonstrating “the resilience and appeal” of its predominantly suburban pub estate.

For the festive trading days – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve – like-for-like sales climbed 9.6%, Marston’s added.

On a wider like-for-like basis across the 16-week period, sales rose by 8.1%.

Chief Executive Officer Justin Platt said: “It has been an encouraging start to the year. This, together with an improving outlook in which inflationary headwinds are broadly abating, and the actions we are taking to operate more efficiently and rebuild margins, position Marston’s well for the year ahead.”

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He added that the firm expects “to build on the trading momentum to maximise the group’s future potential.”

Marston’s will report its half-year results on May 14.

The positive festive update comes as Marston’s prepares for its upcoming annual general meeting. The company’s shares edged up 0.5% to 33.49p on Tuesday morning. The stock is down 18% over the past 12 months.