Marston's has described its Christmas and New Year trading as 'encouraging' as it posted like-for-like sales increases of 3% for the 16 weeks to 23 January 2016 in its 'destination' and 'premium' pubs.
The Wolverhampton brewer and pub operator also saw food sales growth of 2.5% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 3.4%. In the two week period to 2 January, like-for-like sales growth stood at 4.9%. Operating margins are ahead of last year.
Managed and franchise pub like-for-like sales were 2.7% ahead of last year, with 5% growth over the Christmas fortnight.
Chief executive Ralph Findlay, said: 'Once again we traded well over the Christmas period with record sales over the key Christmas fortnight for the fourth year in succession, maintaining our record of market out-performance, including pub retail sales of over £3 million on Christmas Day for the first time.
'This performance demonstrates the appeal of our pubs and the value for money we offer, underpinned by excellent service. In brewing, our principal brands and new beers contributed to an excellent first quarter.'
Findlay added that the evolution of the franchise model would continue to be a key focus for future growth. The model has now been extended into higher turnover pubs, with the highest turnover franchise pub achieving £30,000 per week over the Christmas period. In its leased division, profits are estimated to be around 3% ahead of last year. Across its brewing division, own-brewed volumes were up 21% in the year to date, underpinned by strong performance in the off-trade.
Marston's said it now plans to open at least 20 new pub-restaurants and five lodges in the current financial year, with seven pub and three lodge openings expected in the first half. Its interim results for the 26 weeks to 2 April 2016, will be announced on 18 May 2016.