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Beer tax fear at Marston's; BREWING: Pub group's gloomy forecast for 2008.



Byline: By Jon Griffin

MIDLAND pub group Marston's today warned of a cloudy cloudy (clou´de)
1. murky; turbid; not transparent.

2. marked by indistinct streaks.
 outlook for the trade with Government increases in beer duty adding to the sector's woes.

The Wolverhampton-based company said it remained cautious over trading for 2008 as it became the latest pub firm to warn of the impact of rising alcohol taxes.

The firm said recent increases in beer duty added to pressures in an "already challenging" trading environment.

The warning came as Marston's reported a 0.3 per cent rise in like-for-like sales Like-for-Like Sales

The portion of current sales achieved through activities that are comparable to the activities of the previous year.

Notes:
Using like-for-like sales is a method of valuation that attempts to exclude any effects of expansion, acquisition, or other
 at its managed pub arm as rising food sales offset weakening drink demand.

In the company's tenanted and leased pubs division, like-forlike profit was slightly below last year, with growth in rental income offset by sales volumes and machine income in line with market trends.

Marston's said: "We remain cautious about the outlook for 2008, and the recent increase in beer duty adds to the pressures on tenants and free trade operators in an already challenging trading environment."

The comments echo those made in recent days by other firms, including Solihull-based Enterprise Inns and Shepherd Neame Shepherd Neame is an English regional brewery founded in 1698 by Richard Marsh in Faversham Kent. It is a family owned brewery that produces a range of cask ales and filtered beers. Production is around 203,000 barrels a year. .

Marston's - formerly known as Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries - has an estate totalling around 2,275 pubs - 1,723 tenancies within Marston's Pub Company and 552 directly managed by Marston's Inns & Taverns.

It operates four breweries - Banks's Brewery in Wolverhampton, Marston's Brewery at Burton-on-Trent, Jennings Brewery Jennings Brewery was established as a family concern in 1828 in the village of Lorton, between Keswick and Cockermouth in the Lake District, England. The brewery was started by John Jennings Snr, son of William Jennings (a maltster).  at Cockermouth in the Lake District and Ringwood brewery in Hampshire.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 3, 2008
Words:238
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