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Wed 9th Oct 2013 - Breaking News - Marston’s reports “encouraging” second half; plans to step up new-build programme
Marston’s reports “encouraging” second half; plans to step up new-build programme: Marston’s has reported an “encouraging” second half-year, with good weather over the summer balancing poor weather during the first half-year. In Destination and Premium pubs, like-for-like sales were 2.2% ahead of last year including like-for-like food sales growth of 3.7% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 0.2%. Over the last 11 weeks, like-for-like sales have grown by 2.6%. Operating margins are expected to be slightly ahead of last year. In Taverns community pubs, profits for the full year are expected to be behind last year due to poor weather in the first half-year, a greater than anticipated level of disposals and a more subdued performance in our tenanted pubs in line with market trends. The performance of managed and franchised pubs has been robust with like-for-like sales in line with last year and up 2% in the second half-year. In Leased pubs, profit for the year is expected to be in line with last year, with an improved performance in the second half year. In brewing, own-brewed beer volumes are 6% higher than last year, outperforming an ale market down 3%. Premium cask ale volumes were up 4% in the year and bottled ale was up 19%. The company stated: “We are focussing on significantly improving the quality of our pub estate appropriate for both current and future consumer needs. We completed 22 new pub-restaurants in the year with returns remaining strong. Over the last five years our national new-build pub programme has proven highly successful, generating strong returns and improving the quality of our pub estate. The 2012 estate valuation also indicated that the new-build pubs were valued at 50% above build cost, generating significant value to our shareholders. As a result of this success we propose to accelerate the new-build programme and are targeting 25-30 openings over the next few years, with a visible pipeline of sites to 2017. We have disposed of 130 pubs and other assets in the year generating proceeds of around £50 million, higher than we originally anticipated. A more aggressive churn of the estate will improve returns over time, assist the funding of the new-build programme and reduce our exposure to the tenanted sector. We aim to achieve disposal proceeds of £60-70 million for financial year 2014, principally from the Taverns estate.” Chief executive Ralph Findlay added: “The performance of our new-build pubs is very strong. We have developed plans to accelerate the programme and intend to dispose more aggressively of lower-end pubs in order to pursue our key objectives of sustainable growth, improving returns and reducing leverage over time. We are confident that we are significantly improving the quality of our pub estate for both today’s and tomorrow’s consumer.”
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