Pub group Marston’s has seen its sales rise by 12.9% in the 16-week period to 21 January compared to the previous year, which was impacted by the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The company, which reported its financial results for this period ahead of its annual general meeting, saw like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the 16-week period to 26 November 2022 rise by 6.8% compared to the previous year, with encouraging trading momentum continuing into the festive period.
In the following eight weeks, like-for-like sales were up by 19.2% compared to FY2022, while the comparative like-for-like figures increased by 4.5% for the 16-week period compared to FY2020.
For the five key festive days, like-for-like sales were up by 26% compared to the same period in FY2022 and rose by 12.9% compared to the 2019/20 festive period.
Meanwhile, total retail sales in the group’s managed and franchised pubs were up by 14% on the previous year and up by 7.3% compared to FY2020, while drink sales continued to outperform food sales.
The company said its electricity costs have been hedged until the end of September this year, with no change to earnings guidance.
The group’s gas price is fixed until the end of March 2025, with no additional incremental spend anticipated.
CEO Andrew Andrea said: “We have continued to see positive sales momentum through the festive season and into the New Year, with particularly strong demand on the key Christmas and New Year trading days.
“Whilst we still have certain cost challenges to navigate in 2023, we are well-positioned to continue to progress our strategy and are encouraged by the level of consumer resilience experienced to date.
“The pub clearly remains an affordable treat which is attractive to consumers, and we continue to see good traction from those sites within our portfolio which have been converted to our Signature format.
“Marston’s pub estate is well-invested, and our geography and proposition lends itself to benefit from underlying consumer trends. Whilst still early in the New Year, trading momentum continues to build, and our primary focus remains to meet our strategic goals of achieving £1 billion sales and reducing our debt to below £1bn, with all the subsequent benefits that both of those milestones will bring to our shareholders.”