MARSTON'S said it was trading in line with hopes today after its portfolio of Pitcher & Piano and Tavern Table pubs achieved stronger Easter sales.
As well as "good" trading at its managed pubs division over the holiday period, the group said its tenanted and leased pubs division continued to see improved trends over recent weeks.
It added that its new build programme, which will add 15 food-led managed pubs in the year to October, was progressing well after recent openings reported turnover ahead of the company’s target of £20,000 a week.
Marston’s added that trading conditions were still challenging but that it was encouraged by its performance in the first half of its financial year.
It said in a trading update: "We remain on track to meet our expectations for the financial year and continue to see improvement in each of our trading divisions."
The group has an estate of 2,167 pubs, based on 1,676 tenanted or leased pubs and 491 managed pubs. It also brews Marston’s Pedigree and Hobgoblin, as well as Banks’s, Jennings, Wychwood, Brakspear and Mansfield beers.
Ale volumes for the 26 weeks to April 3 were in line with last year, while premium ale sales increased by 4%.
In the managed pubs division, which also includes the Marston’s Two for One brand, like-for-like sales were ahead 1.4% on last year, in line with the performance reported by the company in January.
Marston’s said food sales remained strong after like-for-like growth of 2.5%, compared with drinks sales growth of 0.5%.