Marston's pubs see sales of food and drink rise

Marston's logo
Image caption Marston's runs more than 2,000 pubs across the UK and brews Pedigree and Banks's ales

Pub and brewing firm Marston's has reported "strong" trading over the Christmas period, with higher sales of food and drink.

The company, which runs more than 2,000 pubs, said its managed pubs' sales were strongest, up by 5% in the 16 weeks to January 21 compared with a year ago.

Food sales grew by 5.5%, outstripping drink sales, which rose by 4.8%.

Across the company's leased, tenanted and franchised estates, profits for the period were 3% above last year.

It said that Marston's beer brands, including Pedigree and Banks's, outperformed the market with own-brewed beer volumes 2% above last year.

On Thursday, Mitchells and Butlers - which runs pub chains including All Bar One, Harvester, Toby Carvery and O'Neills - said its sales over the Christmas and New Year period were 4.4% higher than a year ago.

In November last year, Marston's said it would take on 1,000 new staff this year as part of its expansion plans which include building 25 new pubs a year.

Marston's chief executive, Ralph Findlay said: "We have a robust strategy in place, aligned to today's trading environment and continue to make good progress on our new build programme, creating around 1,000 new jobs in 2012 and each year thereafter."

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