Food demand lifts Marston's profits

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Marston's has reported a 4.6% rise in profits to 73.5 million pounds

Pub company Marston’s has reported a 4.6% rise in profits to £73.5 million as it reaped the benefit of its F-Plan to focus on “food, families, females and forty/fifty-somethings”.

The Pitcher & Piano and Tavern Table operator, which runs around 2,000 pubs, has seen food become more popular in its pubs in the wake of the smoking ban and now accounts for 40% of sales.

Its 489 managed pubs sold 24 million meals in the year, a 5% increase on the previous year, with sales of drinks up 1.4%. The strong performance of the division contributed to a 0.9% rise in sales to £650.7 million in the year to October 2.

Its tenanted and leased pubs still struggled, with operating profits down 3.7%, but Marston’s said their performance had improved throughout the year.

The Wolverhampton-based company signed 100 new agreements with tenant landlords that gave them more incentives to grow their business and plans to sign up 500 more.

These pubs will eventually come under Marston’s management from October 2011, doubling the size of its more profitable managed division.

Sales of Marston’s-brewed beer, which includes Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Brakspear, were up 4.5% to £106.1 million as the company pushed local and premium cask ales.

In the eight weeks to 27 November, Marston’s said like-for-like sales in its managed pubs were up 3% with profits down 1.5% in its leased estate and own-brewed beer sales ahead of last year.

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