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FTSE 250 pub and hotel operator Marston’s (LON:MARS) has seen its share price drop by 8.83% to 111.05p (as of 12:15 BST) after it reported modest sales growth for the 42 weeks ended 2oth July. However, sales over the last 16 weeks have been down due to strong comparatives based on external factors like the football World Cup.
CEO Ralph Findlay commented: “We have achieved modest growth during the 42 weeks to date continuing the long term positive LFL sales trend despite May and June being hampered by relatively poor weather. We have a high-quality, balanced pub estate and a highly disciplined approach to preserving margin, together with a leading beer business which continues to perform well leveraging our outstanding brand portfolio and increasing our market share.
“Having made good progress with our cash generation and debt reduction plans, we have subsequently decided to accelerate our efforts in this context and defer our remaining new-build plans and reallocate £20-30 million of the £70 million new-build capex over the next three years to drive higher returns from our existing estate. We believe that this focus will further enhance our returns from our existing pub business and reduce our debt at an even greater pace“.