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Shares in FTSE 250 pub landlord Marston’s (LON:MARS) dropped by 7.34% to 108.60p (as of 11:05 GMT) on news that overall pub sales growth for the 16 weeks ended 18th January was 1% as a stronger Christmas period covered for sluggishness early in December. Volumes in the beer division dropped, largely due to lower December lager sales.
CEO Ralph Findlay commented: “Marston’s has delivered a creditable performance in a challenging market. Trading in the key Christmas fortnight was good and has remained solid since which is encouraging. Our balanced pub portfolio enables us to perform well in the context of current market dynamics and our market-leading Beer Company has continued to increase market share in both the on and the off trade in the period. We are making excellent progress on our debt reduction strategy, well ahead of the original 2023 target.
“Looking forward, greater clarity on the political agenda should positively impact consumer confidence. Overall the economic environment for the consumer looks encouraging with low unemployment and healthy wage growth providing us with increasing confidence that the market will grow in 2020“.