UK: Marston's off-trade sales strong but H1 profits slip
- Group H1 net profits fall 17.3% to GBP19.1m (US$29.1m)
- Net sales up 4.7% to GBP358.1m
- Operating profits fall 7.2% to GBP62.7m
- Bottled ale volumes up 21%
Marston's brewing operations are in a healthy state
Marston's has reported a slide in first-half group profits, but sales from its brewing operations were boosted by a "strong" off-trade performance.
The Wolverhampton-based brewer and pub operator said today (16 May) that group net profits in the 26 weeks to the end of March fell by 17.3% to GBP19.1m (US$29.1m). Sales in the period were up by 4.7% to GBP358.1m. Operating profits fell by 7.2% to GBP62.7m.
However, the company's brewing unit performed well. First-half sales increased by 11.8% to GBP59.9m, helped by a "strong" performance in the off-trade. Bottled ale volumes rose by 21%, while premium cask ale volumes were up 8%. Take-home volumes now account for 49% of total ale volumes, it said.
The healthy performance for brewing continues the trend seen in the company's full-year results last November.
"Consumers continue to demand beers with genuine local provenance and regional beers," Marston's said today.
Sales in its "destination" and "premium" pubs, where food is a focus, were up 8.3%, but slowed for the group's community and leased model pubs.
Looking ahead, chief executive Ralph Findlay said: "Trading in the second half-year has started well, and we remain confident of achieving our full-year targets.”
The company also announced that it has appointed Roger Devlin as its new chairman, who will replace David Thompson from September.
UK brewers were given a boost in March, when the government scrapped its duty escalator for beer and cut tax by GBP0.01 a pint.
For the company's full announcement, click here
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