Is Marstons in trouble?

Answered by John Hunt

Marston’s, the pub chain, has experienced some challenges in recent years, particularly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the company has seen an 18% increase in like-for-like sales in the last quarter of 2022, it is important to note that these figures are still 2% below the levels seen in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The fact that Marston’s is struggling to reach its pre-pandemic performance levels indicates that the company is still facing some difficulties. While the increase in sales is a positive sign, it is not enough to fully recover from the losses incurred during the pandemic. The 2% gap suggests that there is still work to be done in order to regain the customer base and revenue levels seen before the crisis.

It is worth considering the wider context in which Marston’s operates. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the hospitality industry as a whole, with many pubs and restaurants facing closures and financial difficulties. Marston’s is not alone in its struggles, and the challenges it faces are reflective of the broader challenges faced by the sector.

Additionally, changing consumer behavior and preferences may also be contributing to Marston’s difficulties. The pandemic has led to shifts in consumer behavior, with more people opting for home delivery and takeaway services rather than dining out. This change in behavior has likely affected Marston’s sales and overall performance.

Furthermore, Marston’s may also be facing increased competition from other pub chains and independent establishments. The hospitality industry is highly competitive, and it is not uncommon for businesses to face challenges from their competitors. Marston’s will need to continually adapt and innovate in order to stay relevant and attract customers in a crowded market.

While Marston’s has seen an improvement in sales at the end of 2022, the fact that it is still 2% behind its pre-pandemic levels suggests that the company is still facing challenges. The wider context of the hospitality industry, changing consumer behavior, and increased competition may all be contributing factors. It will be important for Marston’s to continue to adapt and find ways to attract customers in order to overcome these challenges and regain its pre-pandemic performance levels.