By Marcus Leach

Marston's, the pub owner and brewery, have reported what they deem 'strong' results for Christmas trading.

"In our managed pubs, like-for-like sales for the 16 week period were 5.0% ahead of last year, including like-for-like food sales growth of 5.5% and like-for-like wet sales growth of 4.8%," a statement from the company said.

"Like-for- like sales in the eight weeks to 21 January were up 7.0% against comparatives which were affected by exceptional wintry conditions in December 2010. Operating margins are in line with last year and our plan to build around 25 pub-restaurants in the current financial year remains on track.

"In our leased, tenanted and franchised pubs, profit trends have continued to improve. Profits for the 16 week period are estimated to be around 3.0% above last year, with 4.0% growth in the eight weeks to 21 January. This improvement reflects the continuing success of Retail Agreements, our franchise model, which now operates in over 360 pubs."

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