British pub operator Marston's said on Tuesday 11 October its annual retail sales rose above pre-pandemic levels, as people splurged on drinks more than food despite the worsening cost-of-living crisis.
Pubs, restaurants and hotels in Britain, still recovering from pandemic restrictions, are now grappling with rising costs and lower consumer spending in the face of rising inflation.
"We are managing cost inflation well with food, drink and energy costs covered for the immediate future," chief executive officer Andrew Andrea said in a statement.
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Marston's in July hedged the group's electricity rates for the upcoming winter season and fixed gas prices until March 2025 to counter the surge in energy costs.
"We are primed to maximise the trading opportunities provided by the forthcoming World Cup and first restriction-free Christmas in three years " Andrea said.
Total retail sales for the year were 2% higher from 2019, with sales of drinks outperforming food because of hot weather during the summer, Marston's said.
Marston's rivals Mitchells & Butlers warned of tighter margins in its new financial year as costs rise, while Wetherspoon's annual operating costs nearly doubled.
Electricity Costs And Like-For-Like Sales
Electricity costs in the last 10 weeks of the 2022 financial year were higher than expectation due the volatile energy market, the pub operator said.
Like-for-like sales in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year to 1 October were 3% higher than the same period in 2019.