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UK's Marston's says people eating less, drinking more at pubs due to hot weather

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·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Burton-on-Trent
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(Reuters) - Marston's said on Wednesday people were eating less and drinking more at its pubs in the last four weeks due to the recent spell of very hot weather, and the British pub group warned that electricity costs would be higher than expected.

A surging inflation environment globally has spiked prices of everything from fuel to food ingredients and consumers in the United Kingdom are limiting their spending while battling record-high temperatures.

"In spite of external economic headwinds, we have not seen any discernible change to customer footfall to date and remain cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see similar levels of customer demand across the summer," Chief Executive Officer Andrew Andrea said in a statement.

Marston's, which operates about 1,500 pubs and inns across the UK, said total like-for-like sales for the 42-week period to July 23 was down 2% compared with the corresponding period in the pre-pandemic 2019 fiscal.

The more than 180-year-old pub operator also said like-for-like sales slowed in the last 16 weeks to July 23, compared with the first 12 weeks of the period, while food sales weakened mainly due to the recent spell of very hot weather.

Marston's added that it hedged the group's electricity rates for the upcoming winter season and has fixed the gas prices until March 2025 to counter the surge in energy prices.

(This story corrects to remove reference to breweries in paragraph 4)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar, Yadarisa Shabong and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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