Marston's retreats into full year loss

Brewer and pub operator Marston's served up a full year loss as managed like-for-like sales in the last eight weeks rose two per cent.

Brewer and pub operator Marston's served up a full year loss as managed like-for-like sales in the last eight weeks rose two per cent.

The pub company, which runs the Pitcher & Piano chain, said this included a 3.4% like-for-like food sales increase while like-for-like wet sales rose 0.9%.

Tenanted and franchised operating profit climbed 3.2% during the 52 weeks ended September 29th 2012.

"We expect market conditions to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, with consumer confidence continuing to be subdued by weak economic conditions," the group said in a company statement.

"Nevertheless, we are confident that our strategy is appropriate and that our focus on value, service and quality will continue to be attractive to our customers."

Annual group revenue rose 5.5% to £719.7m and underlying pre-tax profit climbed 9.2% to £87.8m. Marston's posted a pre-tax loss of £135.5m for the year compared to profit of £80.8m previously.

Marston's took net exceptional charges of £180.2m after tax following the impairment of freehold and leasehold properties of £215.1m. It also took a £2.8m write-off of unamortised finance costs relating to it previous bank facility, a net £4.6m charge relating to its new swap arrangements and a £3.7m charges from outstanding tax liabilities relating to unresolved tax issues.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer Ralph Findlay said: "These results demonstrate resilience despite the weak economy and very poor weather during the summer. All areas of the business achieved increased revenue and profit in the year, demonstrating the continuing appeal of good pubs and beers."

"The economy is likely to remain weak for the foreseeable future, but we have a clear, proven strategy which is appropriate for current market conditions, and which is achieving growth."

A final dividend of 3.9p per share has been recommended, up 5% from the same time last year.

CJ

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