Marston’s to cut 2,150 jobs after UK clampdown on hospitality sector
Marston’s, the UK pub group, is set to lay off 2,150 staff after a swath of new restrictions on trading in pubs and bars hit consumer confidence.
The company described the regulations, which include mandatory table service, a 10pm curfew and limits on group sizes across the country, as “hugely disappointing”.
Despite opening 99 per cent of its pubs over the summer, it has since had to shut 21 pubs in Scotland following further measures there and said that trading in 18 pubs in Liverpool was now affected by local rules that dictate pubs can only stay open if they serve a ‘substantial meal’.
Since reopening pubs on July 4, Marston’s said that trading had averaged 90 per cent of last year’s levels and in August, boosted by the government’s Eat out to Help Out scheme, it had seen like-for-like sales increase 6 per cent compared to 2019.
In the year to the end of October, which includes the three month period of lockdown from March, overall sales for its pubs and brewing business were £821m, 30 per cent below last year. Sales across its pub estate were £515m, 34 per cent less than last year but boosted by £61m from the sale of 168 pubs.
Marston’s, which is one of the most highly indebted of major UK pub groups, is also set to benefit from a £230m windfall following the completion of the sale of its brewing arm into a joint venture with the Danish brewer Carlsberg, which was approved by the Competitions and Markets Authority last week. It currently has net debt of £1.3bn.
The group said that although 10,000 members of staff were now back at work, the end of the government’s furlough scheme and the restrictions on trade meant that 2,150 pub-based jobs would have to be cut and that a full review of its overhead costs would be carried out.