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UK: Marston’s confident despite sales dip

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Marston's, the UK beer and pub group, said it is confident of meeting challenges as its value-for-money food deals helped offset poor summer weather and fragile consumer confidence.

The pub group said overall sales were down 1.4% in the year to 3 October and flat in the second-half.

Marston's Inns and Taverns like-for-like sales were 0.6% below last year with like-for-like food sales growth of 2.8%. Like-for-like sales were stronger in the second half-year however.

Marston's Pub Company like-for-like profit was around 7% below last year. Around 80% of the division's pubs are let on substantive agreements, and overall profit from these pubs was in line with last year, the company reported.

The pub group said it expects earnings before tax and exceptional items for the year to be in line with expectations.

"As previously forecast, we expect to declare a final dividend of 3.7 pence per share payable in January 2010," the company added.

"The outlook for the UK economy is uncertain. Whilst we remain cautious, immediate cost inflation pressures have eased, and we are well positioned to meet the upcoming challenges."

In July, Marston's succeeded in gaining approval from shareholders for a share rights issue, devised to raise GBP176m (US$285m).

Around GBP140m of the funding was used to build new food-based pubs on the outskirts of towns. The rest will be used to help pay down company debt.


Sectors: Beer & cider

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