The firm disposed of 388 wet-led pubs last year, generating £144m of profits for reinvestment into food-led venues.
It will close a further 200 pubs from its Taverns estate over the next 12 months and said in 2-3 years’ time, most of its community pubs will be operated under its franchise model.
Marston’s currently operates 100 pub-restaurants and said they generate a high turnover, typically averaging £27,000 per week with a food sales mix in excess of 50 per cent.
2014 sales growth
Marston’s reported strong revenue and profit growth in Destination and Premium in the 52 weeks to 4 October 2014, with sales up 3.1 per cent year-on-year.
The company said like-for-like food sales were up by 3.3 per cent in P&D, assisted by growth in sales of starters, desserts and coffees.
Food now accounts for 57 per cent of sales in Destination venues and 27 per cent of sales at Premium pubs and bars.
Marston’s managed and franchised pubs also achieved 2.1 per cent growth in like-for-like sales in 2014. Food now accounts for nearly a quarter of sales in these venues.
Underlying revenues rose 1 per cent across the group, although profit before tax was down 3.6 per cent to £83m reflecting disposals and a shorter trading period.
The company said the two year transformation of its pub estate – involving investment in pub-restaurants and disposal of smaller wet-led pubs – was already yielding results with average profit per pub up 10 per cent.
Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay, said: “This year we have made good progress in transforming the quality of our pub estate through the continuation of our new-build development plans and the disposal of weaker pubs. Our Brewing business is benefiting from our category leadership in premium ale and new product development.
“There are some signs of modest economic improvement, with the emergence of real wage growth and resilience within the economic regions outside London. Looking forward, we will continue with our expansion strategy to invest in at least 25 new-build pubs each year. We also remain on track to dispose of the residual 200 pubs targeted for sale from our Taverns estate over the next 12 months to create the desired structure for our business for the future.”