Pub group and brewer Marston's reveals that it took a hit from the snowy and icy weather in early December and between Christmas and New Year, although its pubs saw record sales on Christmas Day.
In its latest quarter trading update, the company said total sales in its Destination and Premium division were up 4.9%, reflecting the contribution from the estate expansion last year.
Lke-for-like sales excluding the impact of the snow-affected weeks were up 1.1%. The weather impact on like-for-line sales was around 2% and on an adjusted basis,sales were down 0.9%, with Marston's estimating a profit impact of £1m.
In taverns, like-for-like sales were up 2.8% thanks to the performance of franchise-style agreements and an improved drinks range, while the lease estate performed well, with profit growth estimated at 2%.
In brewing, Marston's Beer Company achieved good growth in the period to date, with own-brewed volumes up 33%.
The group said it was benefiting from the acquisition of Charles Wells Brewing Business, distribution gains achieved in 2017 and a stronger brand portfolio well represented in the premium ale, craft beer and 'world beer' segments of the market.
Marston's said it remained on target to open 15 pub restaurants and bars and six lodges this year. It has opened three pub-restaurants and two lodges in the year to date, including a 104 -bed lodge in Ebbsfleet.
Commenting on the latest numbers, CEO Ralph Findlay said: "We continue to achieve growth against tough market conditions and are benefiting from investment in both pubs and brewing. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with a great pub experience and excellent service, as well as delivering value for shareholders, over the year ahead."
Shore Capital analyst Greg Johnson gave his view on Marston’s: "Overall, we see this update as consistent with both recent trends and our full year trends, with our full year estimates predicated on 1% growth in like-for-like sales at the D&P division, noting that comparatives get easier as the year progresses (+1.5% in the first 16 weeks of the year and flat for the last 22 weeks).
He added: “Conservatively, we lower our 2018 profit before tax estimate by £1m to £110m (EPS: 14.3p) to reflect the weather impact with the assumption that it does not recover this lost profit as the year progresses."
The market responded negatively to Marston’s latest numbers in what Findlay himself describes as tough market conditions. The share price fell almost 5% in early morning trading to 109.10.