Marston's set to reopen hundreds of pub gardens next week

Saleha Riaz
·2 min read
Marston’s operates around 1,500 pubs nationally. Photo: Getty Images
Marston’s operates around 1,500 pubs nationally. Photo: Getty Images

Marston's (MARS.L) is to reopen about 700 of its pubs in England that have outdoor spaces on or around 12 April, when lockdown restrictions for the hospitality industry ease as per prime minister Boris Johnson's plan.

About 70% of the company's managed and franchised pubs will reopen, subject to final regulatory confirmation, it said. Meanwhile, the majority of its Scottish and Welsh pubs will open on 26 April.

The company's shares were up roughly 2% on Wednesday morning.

"On the basis that the stated reopening roadmap set out by the government is adhered to, the remaining managed estate in England should open on or around 17 May with restricted indoor trading, and we are assuming a return to normal trading conditions from 21 June," the company said in a statement.

The company runs 1,500 pubs nationally, comprising of managed, franchised and leased pubs, employs around 11,000 people. It also has a 40% holding in Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company.

Marston's stock ticked up on Wednesday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Marston's stock ticked up on Wednesday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Despite its pubs being closed for a big part of 2020 and and 2021, the company said in January it remains focused on the strategic development of the business.

READ MORE: Pubs 'outraged' by vaccine passport proposals

A joint venture between Carlsberg UK and Marston’s Beer Company completed on 30 October 2020 from which the company received initial proceeds of £233m ($322m), which it used to reduce debt.

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CEO Ralph Findlay had said at the time that "pubs are viable businesses which are part of the social fabric of Britain and which make a major contribution to the economy and the communities in which they serve. It is vital that they not only survive the short-term crisis but are supported in order to recover and flourish."

He added that Marston’s has a significantly strengthened balance sheet "following the creation of the joint venture with Carlsberg and the financial headroom to weather the extended period of current trading restrictions."

Meanwhile, the pub industry, hit hard by the pandemic, has expressed outrage at the government for proposing to "burden" it with vaccine passports and other "over-complicated" rules around reopening.

The industry has also criticised the government's decision to ask all customers to sign into the pub on entry, rather than just one member of the group as was previously the case.

Pub representatives said: “Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and COVID-secure measures in place. Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses."

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