Pub group Marston’s will only build 15 sites in the next 12 months as it steps down its growth plans in the wake of the subdued consumer environment,
The firm had planned to build on average 20 per year but hit 19 in the year to Sept 30 and will open fewer still in its 2018 financial year.
But Ralph Findlay, chief executive, said he would continue to snap up available sites and open pubs on those locations at a later date when trading conditions were more buoyant.
The company registered positive like-for-like sales in each of its three pub divisions in the period under review even though the rate of growth was below that of 2016. Mr Findlay said the trading numbers were partly down to a softer summer period compared to last year, which was helped by the Euro 2016 football championships. He also said customers were “feeling the squeeze” and that the company would cut £5m of costs in the next 12 months in a bid to keep the prices of its food and drinks steady.
It recently increased prices in line with inflation but now has contracts with suppliers well into 2019, which lock in terms for its food and drinks.
Pub group Marston’s is to scale back its growth plans next year
Ralph Findlay Chief executive