October 10, 2017 / 6:45 AM / 2 months ago

Marston's to open fewer pubs, lodges next year on muted market

(Reuters) - British pub operator Marston’s Plc (MARS.L) said it planned to open fewer pubs, bars and lodges next year due to subdued market conditions.

Weaker consumer confidence has hit pub and restaurant operators as incomes get squeezed by rising inflation, while growing costs in the industry and a weaker pound worsen the impact.

The company now expects to open 15 pubs and bars and six lodges next year, compared with 19 pubs and bars and eight lodges it opened in 2017.

A string of British pub and restaurant operators including Mitchells & Butlers (MAB.L) and Whitbread (WTB.L) have reported slowing demand - a warning signal for the country’s economy which relies heavily consumer spending.

However, Marston‘s, which also brews beers, said it expected profit and sales growth in 2017 and 2018.

The company said it also identified cost savings of about 5 million pounds per year, including from the recent reorganisation of the pub operational structure.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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