UK's Marston's says Christmas bookings top 2019 levels; delays results

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(Reuters) - British pub operator Marston's said on Monday Christmas bookings and recent sales topped 2019 levels after it pushed back the release of its results due to a "procedural" delay on the auditing front caused by its associate firm.


"We should be in (a) position to announce Marston's results within the next week," the company said in a statement, adding it was reassured of no disagreement between Carlsberg's auditors and Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Co (CMBC), the joint venture between Carlsberg UK and Marston's.

Marston's, which runs an estate of over 1,500 pubs and bars, said sales since its financial year ended Oct. 2 has risen about 7% compared to last year, and 5% from pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Drink sales jumped about 50% compared to last year on two England match days at the soccer World Cup in Qatar, with food sales also better than expected, the company said.

That, however, compares with a weak year-ago period, when several COVID-19 restrictions were still in place.

The company said October earnings were in line with its expectations, while bookings for Christmas day and Christmas Fayre were encouraging, currently topping 2019 levels.

(This story has been refiled to remove reference to time period "since Oct. 2", in paragraph 4)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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