'Cautious' Marston’s scales down expansion plans

10/10/2017 - 08:44
Marston’s has announced that it will not open as many new pubs, bars and lodges as it had planned due to current market conditions described by the group as ‘subdued’.

Growing industry costs and the weakening of the pound following last year’s EU referendum has affected the sector and consumer confidence.

The 1,550-strong pubco has trimmed its expansion plans to 15 new pubs and bars, and six lodges for the next financial year.

Marston’s chief executive, Ralph Findlay, said the group were planning on mitigating ongoing cost pressures by making £5 million worth of savings per annum by methods which include the reorganisation of the pub’s operational structure.

"Our priority is to focus on quality, service and standards,” said Findlay. “We are well placed to continue to implement our growth strategy through investment in higher quality pubs and bars and  through our unrivalled beer brand range supported by high customer service standards.’’

Contrary to this caution, Marston’s trading update for the year ending 30 September 2017 showed like-for-like sales up across its destination and premium sites, taverns and leased pubs, against the same period last year.

Martson’s reported that its wet sales outperformed food sales in a pattern that was consistent with the market.

The group will announce its preliminary results on 30 November.

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