Source - Alliance News

Marston’s PLC on Tuesday gave an upbeat trading outlook ahead of Christmas despite an annual swing to a loss which saw costs outpace revenue growth.

The Wolverhampton, England-based operator of 1,440 pubs said it turned to a pretax loss of £20.7 million in the financial year ended September 30, from a profit of £163.4 million a year prior.

Revenue in financial 2023 however grew 9.1% to £872.3 million from £799.6 million. The company cited higher costs for the swing to loss despite revenue growth. Notably, the cost of reversal past of revaluation surplus ballooned to £93.9 million from £34.3 million. On top of that, in financial 2023 it incurred a loss of £3.0 million from cash flow hedges, compared to a gain of £23.9 million in financial 2022.

The company declared no dividend, unchanged from 2022.

Looking ahead, the company said: ‘We have taken cost actions to improve the resilience of the business model and improve profitability for the coming year.’

Further, Marston’s said current trading was positive, with like-for-like sales 7.4% higher than a year prior, with Christmas bookings ‘tracking well ahead of last year.’

It said: ‘We have fixed our energy costs for FY2024 and have secured a significant proportion of our food and drink costs for the year, providing us with a high degree of confidence for the next financial year.’

Marston’s added: ‘An improving outlook in which cost headwinds are abating, together with the actions we have taken this year to drive further efficiencies, leaves us confident that Marston’s remains well-placed to continue to outperform in the current macroeconomic environment, grow revenue and profitability, as well as deliver improved margin in the year ahead.’

Marston’s shares fell 1.1% to 30.62 pence each on Tuesday afternoon in London.

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