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F-Plan pays off in pubs.

THE Marston's pub group has declared its results, with plenty of reasons for the board to sink a pint.

Revenue is 0.9% up on last year, the company has squeezed out an operating margin of 0.1% and the underlying operating profit has increased by 0.9% to pounds 148.7m.

The results come after a challenging period for the sector and are the result of a strategy of sustainable growth, increased return on capital and lower gearing ratios.

The trading statement said: "Our focus will remain on providing good service, offering value for money, attractive, well positioned pubs, choice of regional beers and the careful control of costs.

"The performance of the 15 pub-restaurants that opened in 2010 has been very encouraging, with average turnover of pounds 25,000 per week. The food sales mix in these pubs is around 60%."

The group said they want to build 20 similar pub-restaurants next year, and 25 pubs each year thereafter.

One of the secret ingredients has been the F-Plan strategy.

"The operational focus which underpins organic development in our managed pubs is based on the principles of food, families, females and forty/fiftysomethings - which we designed five years ago to recognise longer-term market trends including growth in the eating-out market, the smoking ban and demographic trends," said the statement.

"Over five years, the implementation of the 'F-Plan' has contributed to food sales mix increasing from 28% to 40% and a 71% increase in meals served each year to over 24 million."

And, of course, as long as people keep drinking, profits keep rising.

The board said: "We achieved growth in both turnover and profit in a UK beer market down by around 7%. Our strategy for beer is differentiated and based upon two key principles, increasing consumer demand for premium ales, both cask and bottled and providing choice in beers with provenance.

"We offer a range of 60 different beers from our Marston's, Banks's, Jennings, Ringwood and Wychwood breweries."
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2010
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