Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Marston's hit by 'difficult' year

Sign on Marston's Park Brewery in Wolverhampton

Pub and brewing company Marston's has reported a 13% fall in annual profits and warned of a "difficult year ahead".

It reported pre-tax profits for the year to 4 October of 85.1m, down from 98m the previous 12 months.

Marston's said it had been a challenging year, with the smoking ban, poor summer weather and the deteriorating economic climate.

The Wolverhampton-based company brews beers such as Pedigree, Jennings Cumberland Ale, and Banks's.

It has an estate of 2,250 pubs and bars including the Two for One and Pitcher & Piano chains and employs 12,000 people.

'Resilience'

"These results demonstrate the resilience of our business model in a difficult year for the industry," said Marston's chairman David Thompson.

"Continued investment in pub standards and in the marketing of our brands has helped our three trading divisions to make progress in this challenging market."

Marston's has been a vocal critic of the level of taxation on alcohol.

"The increasing burden of government legislation and significant increases in alcohol taxation are unwelcome and pose significant challenges for our tenants, lessees and free trade customers."

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