City briefs: Marston’s; FireAngel

Pub group Marston’s says it’s focused on achieving £1bn in sales this year.

CEO Andrew Andrea said although it’s still early in the new year, its continuing to build momentum. Andrea also said the group aims to reduce its debt to below £1bn.

Marston’s sales were up by 12.9% in the 16-week period to 21 January 2023 when compared to the same period last year.

The Wolverhampton firm experienced an encouraging trading momentum heading into the festive period as on key festive days, like-for-like sales were up 26% in comparison to 2022 and increased by 12.9% against the 2019/20 festive period.

It says its electricity costs are now hedged until the end of September 2023, with no change to earnings guidance. The group’s gas price is fixed until the end of March 2025 with no additional incremental spend anticipated.

Andrew Andrea, CEO, commented: “We have continued to see positive sales momentum through the festive season and into the New Year, with particularly strong demand on the key Christmas and New Year trading days. Whilst we still have certain cost challenges to navigate in 2023, we are well-positioned to continue to progress our strategy and are encouraged by the level of consumer resilience experienced to date.

“The pub clearly remains an affordable treat which is attractive to consumers, and we continue to see good traction from those sites within our portfolio which have been converted to our Signature format.

“Marston’s pub estate is well-invested, and our geography and proposition lends itself to benefit from underlying consumer trends”.

FireAngel, the developer and supplier of home safety products based in Coventry has experienced its strongest revenue performance since 2017.

The firm reported a sales growth of 32% in 2022 to £57.5m (2021: £43.5m) and its adjusted loss before tax was reduced by 50% to £2.1m (2021: £3m).

In an effort to tackle the macro challenges experienced in H2 2022 the company has taken measures to mitigate risks such as; Those improvements include; value engineering to reduce costs on selected products, introduction of an additional entry level product and renegotiation of terms on certain contracts.

John Conoley, FireAngel’s Executive Chairman, said”The expected FY22 result represents an outstanding performance set against the unprecedented macro circumstances. Whilst the reported result will not be what we had set out to achieve, the underlying numbers demonstrate the strong progress made in line with our ambitions outlined at the time of the Company’s fundraising in H1 2021.
“Societal and regulatory development continues to drive demand for our products. Our continuing focus on self-help pleasingly shows a resilience in overcoming a wide range of macro headwinds to leverage this demand. The Board expects additional significant improvement in our financial journey in 2023, positioning the Group for further progress against our strategic plans.”

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