British pub operator Marston's Plc has warned that the winter months will be challenging with a majority of its pubs remaining closed after fresh COVID-19 curbs, and has called for more UK government support to bail out the sector.
The company said that the outlook is more positive looking forward as Britain began mass-vaccinating its people against COVID-19 earlier this week, adding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has strongly intimated that curbs will ease in the spring.
"The roll out of the vaccine is clearly critical...but in the meantime, the sector continues to face major challenges and government support will need to continue in order for many viable businesses to survive," CEO Ralph Findlay said.
The company, which has already launched consultations on up to 2,150 job losses to deal with the sales hit due to lockdowns, said that government support through reduced value-added tax, business rates holiday and other taxes remains necessary.
Underlying Pre-Tax Loss
Marston's, which is a two-century old brewer known for its Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Lancaster Bomber beers, said that its underlying pre-tax loss was £22 million for the year that ended on October 3, compared with a profit of £95.1 million last year.