Pub company and brewer Marston's credited a stronger performance in all three of its trading divisions for a 4.6% rise in pre-tax profit for the year to 2 October 2010.
Underlying profit before tax was up to £73.5m for the year, while group revenue was also up 0.9% to £650.7m.
The firm's estate of 485 managed pubs, which includes the Marston's Tavern Table, Two for One and Pitcher & Piano brands, saw like-for-like sales rise 1.7%, with average profit per pub up 10%.
Its leased and tenanted division saw operating profit dip 3.7% although the company said trends were improving throughout the year.
And revenue at the Marston's Beer Company, which produces ales including Marston's Pedigree, Wychwood Hobgoblin and Brakspear Oxford Gold rose 4.5%, with operating profit up 1.3%.
Meanwhile, Marston's said it had completed 15 new-build managed. The new pubs have an average turnover of £25,000 a week, above the firm's target of £20,000 a week. It added that it was on track to build another 20 in 2011.
Food at the business now accounts for 40% of sales, with over 24m meals sold in managed puns at an average spend of £6.
And in the 8 weeks to 27 November it revealed a rise in managed like-for-like sales of 3%, including like-for-like sales in food up 5.8 and like-for-like wet sales up 1.7%.
The firm also revealed a series of board changes. Derek Andrew, managing director of Marston's Inns and Taverns standing down after 30 years, although he will remain as an external advisor. As a result, the number of executive directors at the company will be reduced from five to three, with Ralph Findlay as chief executive; Alistair Darby (currently managing director of Marston's Pub Company) as chief operating officer; and Andrew Andrea as finance director.
Peter Dalzell, currently operations director, Marston's Pub Company, will succeed Andrew as managing director of Marston's Inns. Stephen Oliver, managing director of Marston's Beer Company, will also be responsible for Marston's Pub.~
Chief executive Ralph Findlay commented: "We have adapted well to market conditions and trends. We are benefiting from our focused, differentiated strategy as demonstrated by our robust results in 2010 and a strong start to the new financial year. Our plans are affordable, deliverable, and target sustainable growth and strong returns in the future."
By Neil Gerrard
E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next restaurant job here with Caterersearch.com jobs