Marstons cheers Christmas beer sales

Marston's cheers Christmas beer sales

Strong demand for bottled ale has helped Marston's to buck a further decline in the UK beer market in recent months.

Marston's has reported a 20% rise in bottled ale sales by volume for the first 16 weeks of its fiscal year, to 22 January. The increase helped to lift Marston's own-brewed beer volumes by 6% for the period, compared to a UK ale market that shrank by around 7%, the group said today (28 January).

Beer sales, particularly in the on-trade, remain under significant pressure in the UK, with overall volume sales sinking by 4% in 2010, the British Beer & Pub Association announced this week.

Marston's said that its profits are in-line with expectations for the year. The group's tenanted pub division saw like-for-like profits slip by 1% for the 16-week period, but this represents an improvement from a 4% drop in the same period of the previous year.

Operating margin in the group's managed pub business rose "slightly" during the period, it added.