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(Reuters) -Pub operator Marston's said sales in the fourth quarter were above pre-pandemic levels, as people filled up its bars and made use of its outdoor seating to watch football tournaments and enjoy the warm weather after lockdowns were eased.
The nearly 200-year old brewer said on Wednesday sales grew 2% in the quarter ending Oct. 2, compared to 2019 levels, with temporary cuts on value added tax also helping the group.
Marston's, like other pub owners in Britain, is still trying recoup some of the heavy losses suffered when pubs were forced shut or were operating in low capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality industry is also grappling with waning government support as economies reopen in full swing.
Marston's said it had seen some "small pockets of disruption" in the supply chain, but added that it was managing the industry-wide staff shortage well.
Over the past year, pubs across Britain have laid off thousands of workers to stay afloat, but the industry now faces fresh challenges in the run up to Christmas because of a shortage of labour after a double whammy of Brexit and the pandemic forcing many Europeans to return home.
Total pub sales were 402 million pounds ($547.08 million) for the year, the company said.
($1 = 0.7348 pounds)
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)