Marston’s encouraged as Christmas party bookings increase in London

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Our quarterly pub sales grew above pre-pandemic levels and Christmas party bookings in London are “slightly” ahead of expectations, Marston’s new chief executive officer has said.

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Andrew Andrea, who took the top post earlier this month and was previously the finance chief, said he has been “encouraged by the business momentum” as the lockdown for the hospitality sector began to ease in April.

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But Marston cautioned that it is not safe from the adverse effects of the industry. It said: “With respect to the supply chain challenges, we have seen some small portions of disruption, however, we are working closely with our suppliers to manage this.”

Andrea told the Evening Standard that in an example involving some pies, group orders are experiencing some delays. He said: “We don’t have a shortage of food, but in some cases we have to sell alternative products.”

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The firm is less exposed than some businesses to rising prices, as most of its 2022 costs are now contracted.

Marston said sales at pubs in the October 2 quarter, about 1200, were up 2% compared to the same period in 2019.

The pub had total sales of £402 million for the full year, which was affected by lockdown restrictions. £515 million was registered a year ago, before the rules came into force and since the group had about 170 more pubs, it has sold out.

Andrea succeeded long-standing boss Ralph Findlay who stepped down.

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