Marston’s encouraged by early reopening demand and bookings

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Marston’s PLC (LON;MARS) said early signs from the reopening of its estate were encouraging with sales running at 77% of pre-Covid levels.

All of its 1,500-strong estate reopened on 17 May, with good levels of bookings especially from holidaymakers staying in the UK.

The group, which received a takeover approach from private equity group Platinum Advisors in February, said around 90% of its pubs have gardens or outside trading areas, which enabled them to open on 12 April.

Results for the half-year to 3 April, however, were heavily affected by the opening restraints with losses of £105.5mln as revenues fell to £55.1mln from £343mln a year earlier.

Ralph Findlay, CEO and who is stepping down later this year, said Marston’s has emerged as “a stronger and more focused business with a substantially strengthened balance sheet, a 40% stake in Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company and a clear vision for the future”. 

Reopening trade has been encouraging, he added, while a strategic investment in additional outdoor trading areas ahead of reopening had enabled it to capitalise on the clear pent-up consumer demand for the pub.

There is no dividend and there won’t be one this year, Marston’s added

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