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Pub chain Marston’s reveals World Cup drinks boost as results delayed

Marston’s has hailed a drinks boost from World Cup matches as the pub giant pushed back the release of its full financial results due to an auditing delay.

The company, which runs an estate of 1,468 pubs, had been due to post its results for the year to October 2 on Tuesday, November 29.

However, it told investors that it is now set to be announced next week “due to a short delay in the completion of audit procedures” at joint venture Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company.

Marston’s said it has been reassured that there is “no disagreement” between auditors and management at the brewing arm as it held firm on trading guidance.

As it confirmed the delay, Marston’s told shareholders that it has seen “encouraging” trading since the start of last month.

Like-for-like sales in its managed and franchised pubs were 6.8% higher than the same period last year, and up 5% against pre-pandemic levels.

It also highlighted positive sales around the World Cup, reporting that like-for-like sales were around 30% higher for the two England games than on equivalent days last year.

It said drink sales were 50% higher, while food sales were also “better than anticipated”.

Marston’s also cheered Christmas bookings, reporting that total bookings for the period are ahead of levels from 2019 and in line with expectations.

In a statement, the firm said: “We remain cognisant of the current macroeconomic environment with the cost-of-living crisis, the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and the resulting challenges this brings in respect of cost inflation and the potential impact on disposable income, as well as potential supply issues.

“However, pubs have demonstrated their resilience time and time again and, to date, there is little in our trading performance to suggest that there has been a change to consumer behaviour; our guests still want to go out and have an affordable treat in a Marston’s pub.”

Shares in the company were 0.3% lower 40.1p on Monday afternoon.