Source - SMW
Marston's said snow and icy weather disrupted business in early December and between Christmas and New Year. Total retail sales in its pubs on Christmas Day, however, were 4-5% higher than the previous year.

"We continued to make progress in the period with growth in both sales and underlying earnings, helped by the acquisition of the Charles Wells Brewing Business in May and the contribution from the 19 new-build pubs in financial year 2017," the company said.

"Snow and icy weather towards the end of the period, both in early December and between Christmas and New Year, caused some unavoidable disruption to the business."

In the group's destination and premium division, total sales for the 16 week period to January 20 rose 4.9%. Like-for-like sales, however, were down 0.9%, which the company pinned on the inclement weather. It estimated the weather had a negative profit impact of £1 million.

"We continue to maintain a disciplined approach to operating margins without recourse to the significant discounting which has remained prevalent in the sector," Marston's said.

"Margins remain in line with expectations and are slightly below last year reflecting cost increases as previously guided.  There are no changes to the cost guidance previously provided in November 2017."

In the taverns business, like-for-like sales grew by 2.6%, as it benefited from an improved drinks range. 

The company said its leased estates performed well, with profit growth over the period of around 2%. 

In brewing, Marston's Beer Company achieved "good" growth in the period to date, with own-brewed volumes up 33%. 

""We are pleased with our progress, which included record total retail sales in our pubs of £4 million on Christmas Day - 5.4% higher than last year," chief executive Ralph Findlay said. 

"We continue to achieve growth against tough market conditions and are benefiting from investment in both pubs and brewing. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with a great pub experience and excellent service, as well as delivering value for shareholders, over the year ahead."