Marston's beer sales up in smoke


Marston's beer sales up in smoke
Marston's, the brewing and pub retailer, has seen beer sales fall, impacted by the smoking ban and weaker consumer confidence.

Group sales increased by 7.9 per cent compared to last year, reflecting new acquisitions.

The report also stated that like-for-like profit was 0.6 per cent below last year during the 16-week period ending January 31st in its managed pub division.

Revenue growth for the pub company, which operates 2,275 pubs in the UK, showed a gain of just 0.1 per cent over the period's second half.

The maker of Jenning's, Banks's, Mansfield and Ringwood ale brands said that overall sales volumes in Marston's Beer Company were "below last year".

There were no figures showing overall profit comparisons in the update.

"Marston's has a clear strategy for growth and a strong balance sheet," Ralph Findlay, chief executive of the brewery operator, said.

"We are working hard to reduce the impact of rising costs while supporting tenants and lessees in this challenging market."

Considering the smoking ban last summer, over which there are worries on its impact on the pub industry, the statement said that the company "remain[s] cautious about the outlook for 2008 as a consequence of the smoking ban, weaker consumer confidence and pressures on costs and margins".

The pub owner, which sponsor's the English national cricket team, has seen its share price fall by over five per cent to 273.50 in morning trading today.

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